Wednesday, September 26, 2012

On Getting Older...

October 8th rolls around in less than 2 weeks. Time for that birthday anxiety...
I am almost 27 and I don't have a job. Well, I sort of have a job. Peace Corps is like a pseudo job that I love. But the fact is, I'm on the older end of my 20's and about to be closer to 30 than 25. This makes me feel like I should have a lot of things that I don't. Weird. Let's talk about it.
Have to admit, sometimes I totally freak out that I am at my age and I don't have a house, a career, an adorably fat little child, a husband, a wiener dog, a closet full of fantastic shoes, etc. Well, let's not lie, I do have a closet full of fantastic shoes, it's just very far away from me right now ;)
I can explain it with social pressure, I can explain it with personal expectations, or maybe I could even put it on that good ol' American ambition. Fact is, I need to just calm down about it.
As I've recently seen, we humans take things for granted all the time and I am not immune to this habit. Things we have can be taken away in a moment and plans can be altered forever. One of my favorite song lyrics is given to us from none other than Mr. Benjamin Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie and goes like this, "And it came to me then/ that every plan/ is a tiny prayer to Father Time." How true and beautiful that is.
But I digress. Back to the fact that I am getting older...
Yesterday in English class, my students were discussing the fact that I looked more like a señora than a señorita. This is a sore spot for me. Señoras are older, usually married, women. Señoritas are younger and they are ladies. I'm a laaaady. My monsters of students went on to say that I had to be a señora because I am 26 and that's too old for someone to still be single, especially someone who was bonita, so maybe I wanted to be called señorita because I was divorced and that's why I came to Peru. Well, at least they said I was pretty. Haha. Gotta love the logic of 9 year olds. I didn't take it personally, but they shouldnt be saying shit like that in front of their teacher. The cleaning lady was offended for me. How sweet. So naturally this conversation caused my well behaved students to gasp at the disrespect and spun me into the kind of lecture I never thought I would give. Sigh. Teaching is hard.
But this is what I mean when I say social pressure. I am sort of living in this weird balance between two societies right now with Peru and the States. So not only do I hear shit like the scenario I just described almost every day here in Peru, but I also have that daily confrontation with myself when I log into Facebook and see another baby, or new house, or engagement, or pregnant belly, or pile of wedding pictures in my feed. It's not those peoples' fault. Everyone moves at a different pace, this I know. I know I can't compare myself to everyone else, and for the most part I don't. But every now and then a little friend called doubt creeps in and I wonder if I'm doing what's right. Then almost immediately, I realize that I am. It's just part of this bizarre experience to be doing things at a different pace than everyone else. Doubt is normal and if I didn't question myself, I'd be worried. I've accepted it and honestly, I like my weird lifestyle. I'm happy to be doing something different and I thank my lucky stars every day that I am here. I'm just saying, part of this experience is dealing with the fact that even though I have accepted my weird lifestyle, a lot of other people just don't get it. And that's ok. They don't need to. I'll be a happy ambassador for single young women traveling, learning, and growing as they please. It's rather nice for right now. And when it's not, I will do something else.
And hey, I'm only going to be 27. As one of my favorite old lady neighbors used to say, that's just a spring chicken. I have nothing to freak about. For an almost 27 year old, I have a lot to be happy for- namely a collection of wonderful people in my life, lots of adventures from Peru and beyond, good health, that closet full of shoes at home, plans for a great second year in Peru, SEVEN little nieces/ nephews, the best family ever, and a bunch of wonderful hats. Oh, how I love my hats (the newest is from the jungle!). This feels like Thanksgiving dinner. I could babble on forever about everything I am thankful for. There is certainly a lot to be happy about. Which is why my "OHMYGOD I'm SO OLD!" freakouts only last a few minutes at a time. But they happen. And that is ok.
And let's not forget. I'm living in Peru. That's pretty fricken cool. My experience here is incredible and precious. Hay que aprovechar cada minuto.
So yeah, someday if I'm lucky maybe I'll have all of those things I rattled off at the beginning of this post, just not right now. And that is alright. Plenty of time. For now, I will enjoy everything I have right here in Peru, plus my awesome family from afar, and as many of those shoes as I managed to squeeze into my bag last June ;)
26 was great. Here we go 27...
Oh, and if you're reading this from Peru, come celebrate with me next weekend :)

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