A few nights ago, I got to have a girl’s night. Yes, “got to.” Hubby recognized my need for some “me” time and hunkered down with the kids so I could go out for margaritas. The evening was an interesting dynamic because the girls I met up with were in their mid-twenties, and I? Well, I am not. But I was pumped to put on heels and wear the “hazardous” jewelry. I was pumped to go out with friends and to feel like I was in my 20s again.
I mean, I’m not ancient. Our age difference is unrecognizable when we talk about work, current events, and the like. But when talk turns to relationships and home life? I’m clearly in a different place. In my world, there are diapers and temper tantrums and stretch marks. So I love hearing about their photography courses, travel plans, and dating lives. Sipping tequila based beverages and noshing on guacamole and chips, I forget about the loads of laundry waiting for me at home and remembered what it felt like to go to the bathroom alone.
But the more we talked, the more I heard about their insecurities and dilemmas. “Cost of living is really high here, and I’m trying to save up for a trip.” And, “I love my job, but I’m not sure I’m passionate about it as a career.” Or, “It’s just so hard to meet someone I’m interested in—someone of substance who shares my values—online.” And then I remember the other side of being in my 20s: the single income, the dating scene, the anxiety I felt about becoming the person I wanted to be. There were all these choices I needed to make, and a ton of choices that were not even up to me!
Because at 20? I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do professionally. I hadn’t found that right person. But I knew what I wanted my life to look like at 30. I wanted a life partner, I wanted a family, and I wanted a job that was fulfilling. I can’t imagine trying to deal with all that angst and uncertainty in this age of swiping right and communicating through emojis. And walking home from the bar that night, I realized something. I’m so grateful to be out of my twenties.
I’m so grateful for the life I have. Yes, my baby keeps me up all night. But I have the family I wanted. Yes, my house is littered with gold fish and legos. But it’s also filled with laughter and hugs. No, my stomach isn’t as flat as I’d like it to be. But my husband loves me just the way I am. And some days I feel like I’m barely treading water, but I have a job that I love. The days are long and the nights are even longer, but in the words of a college coach I had: I get to. I get to deal with pre-school meltdowns and teething agony. I get to fold my husband’s gym clothes. And I get to work a 12 hour shift and turn around and do it again tomorrow.