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Père-Lachaise cemetery, Paris/France. October 2005.

I talked to a friend yesterday during my downtime and she said something that struck me. “I’m am not about to turn 25 unhappy with my body, my career, and my life.” Or something like that. Just before I could get my mouth around an “amen” or “mmhmm girl, that’s right,” I caught myself up. My friend turns 25 in July, so these are good goals, marginally reachable. If she can’t reach all of them, she can at least be on the path. But me? I’ll be 25 in less than a month.

My birthday, should you be interested, is February 24th. I’m allergic to chocolate, but I love caramel, graham crackers, vanilla, cinnamon, butter cream frosting, shoes, purses, cute medium shirts, CDs, books (especially Harlequins), movies (especially romantic comedies and Black films), iTunes gift cards, Walmart gift cards, shiny pretty cards, photo albums (acid and linign (sp?) free), and scrapbooking supplies, LOL. But seriously, in a short amount of time, I will hit my last pivotal age before each milestone is nothing more than the toll of a bell that signifies the passage of time, how little time left for you to do this or that or the other. Your biological clock starts to tick, then eventually winds itself down and dies. Ring watch picks up and then suddenly falls away to bland faces that would drop open in shock if your old butt walked in with an engagement ring. Ambitious career goals fade and you focus all of your energy on trying not to be replaced by a young hotshot who is up to date on the next Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube phenomena. You give up on children and a husband and buy a cat and get a library card. You sign up for Netflix. You order Dominoes for the Cinnastix, even though you no longer have those idiotic, blind cravings/obsessions/ fixations on them because it’s “THAT TIME OF THE MONTH.” You don’t blink anymore when someone calls you ma’am. You cook at home or order in because you don’t want to take up a whole table in the restaurant, just you and your loneliness, when you can have the company of your cat and your cable.

Hmm, maybe that’s a little bleak. It’s just that, well, I’ve never seen my life going too differently. I always knew I wanted to be a world famous writer, yes, but the rest? 

I don’t know what my wedding colors are. I can’t decide on a cake. Every dress I see and think I might like would make me look stubby because of my height. I have no idea where the wedding will be, what song my first dance will be to. Both the man I wanted to perform the ceremony and  the stepfather I wanted to help escort me down the aisle are dead. None of that matters, of course, because I’m not getting married anytime soon. I just think it’s odd I’ve never thought of it. Most women spend their childhoods planning their weddings. I spent mine imagining what comes after, thinking of ways in which it can go wrong and ways it can go right, and that  mostly for the sake of the story. I sometimes pictured myself as married, but that was merely context for my future life, part of the world I would exist in. I thought it to death. Would he support my writing? Where would we live? Would we have children? Would our children be ugly like me (This was a common preoccupation, so much so I decided, disregarding how wonderful children find me and how much I love them, that I wouldn’t have any just in case…the things we worry about when we’re young!)? How would we co-parent? What happens when the lights go out (or stay on)? Who cared about the wedding part? This person was going to be living with me, sleeping with me, expecting things from me just like I expected things from them. What if I let him down?

No worries, I thought; you aren’t going to get married! Why would you think that? So I focused on being smart, writing, Aiming High and thinking of the future as the inevitable passage of time that had to occur before I was discovered, published, and revered.

Now, I’ll be 25 soon. This year I’ve embarked on many different things I wanted to do to flesh myself out, to make myself a three dimensional character with wants, needs, motivations. To have things I did just because they made me happy and not to reach a goal, and to have things that moved me closer to reaching goals. I’ve started to renew pursuits that have made me ambitious or contented, and sought out new ones. I’m trying to refine the image of what it is I really want, to practice some sort of creative visualization to work towards. But what is it all for?

If 25 is a benchmark of something, true adulthood, coming into your own, figuring out what you want, or just realizing you don’t know anything at all, if it’s the starting point, where in the world am I supposed to end up? And why in the hell didn’t I save this for Meditation Monday?