As I listen to the sound of raindrops filling the puddles outside my apartment and the vocals of a former UCLA student-turned pop star, I am mixed with contentment and expectation.
On Monday, I was in Tacoma Washington driving with a relative stranger I had met once a year and half ago. I explained to her how the lack of “large rocks” in my jar made for lots of possibility or uncertainty. No Money. No Man. No Mortgage. She smiled at me and said that she was confident that I had made those choices- that I could have had the picket fence, 2.5 kids and a mortgage if I had chosen that road- but I hadn’t and therefore my life was rich in other ways. As we drove through the mist past suburban homes, I couldn’t help but smile at the simplicity of cause and effect. When I look back, I feel like I didn’t have a choice, that I did the only thing I could at each turn. In actuality they were choices. I had the freedom to do what my heart told me was right and therefore where I am today is the only place I could possibly be.
The following evening, I sat drinking a martini at a bar in Seattle, watching a group of friends talk about life, mortgage payments, music industry wows, unexpected babies, and the joys of parenting. I joked around with the president of the music label that produced the tracks of my youth- the years of mosh pits and the black eye that I wore to my junior prom. Sitting over sushi talking about gadgets, popular websites, wine and loosing weight the seasons and stages of life that we all go through are closer together then I ever thought they could be.
At 26, I am more of the woman that I wanted to be as a child. I am better at loving and I am better at letting go. I know myself better and I am freer with the grace that I know we all need. I know that the flowers I buy for myself smell just as good as the ones given to me by a lover, and starting over is never as insurmountable as it seems.
I am content that I can’t miss the boat. That I can choose how to respond to my circumstance but I cannot control the path itself. I relish my agency and the existential current of life that moves us all forward. I am more at ease with the dichotomies that make up my passions and the fact that I cannot change them. I fight less and I am getting better at picking my battles.
I drink more wine, exercise less but make better conversation. I know that we cannot choose whom we love or who loves us. The bottom is never as far down as it feels and the stars are still in the heavens when the clouds remain for days.
At 26 I take fewer pain meds and I dance more often. I still paint my emotions and am a sucker for parties. I like to drive fast and covet men with confidence. I still vacillate between street grunge and Jackie Kennedy fashion. I am not a morning person, but on Sundays a latte and the New York Times is a good motivation to get out of bed. I feel the freedom to listen to pop music and don’t apologize for it. I don’t feel guilty when I say no. I have more wrinkles and more girlfriends. I feel more grounded and feel less of a need to run. I still believe that magic can exist between two people and I am even more determined to not settle for anything less. I believe in a big God and the mystery of it still makes me smile. I look in the mirror and most days I love what I see staring back at me.