Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Another year older...


Every year in mid-September, I go through a bit of a crisis. OK, not so much a crisis as a time of deep reflection. Of self doubt. Of slight despair.

The million dollar question, one I ask myself every year, is, "I'm 28 (or whatever age I'm turning). What have I done with my life?" I haven't changed the world, I haven't had a great life epiphany, and I haven't starred in a Broadway musical. The 15-year-old Angeline would be so disappointed.

So what have I done with my life? Not much of anything important to the world, but a lot in terms of personal growth.

At 19/20: Stopped trying to be cool and found life was better being myself (many others agreed, though I lost a number of friends along the way). Learned to trust myself and not compromise, especially in dating. Fell in love with a guy that encouraged me to be a better person and follow my dreams.

At 21: In a year-long office internship, learned to deal with a micromanaging boss and tension-charged work environments. After graduation, ditched my college major and a full-time job offer to pursue my dream of working in magazines in New York City.

At 22: Learned to sleep well on red-eye flights. Seriously doubted my abilities and life direction, leading to lots of anxiety, which I poured into blogging to a non-existent audience. Learned the value of good verbal communication in a cross-country relationship.

At 23: Overcame my self-doubt momentarily to finish my Master's Degree. Got married and learned that I wasn't at the center of the universe (never was, never will be).

At 24: Started my first full-time job (with benefits!) and budgeted out a student loan repayment plan. Survived many faux pas and regrets as I learned to adapt to the office work environment.

At 25: Stopped comparing Sacramento to NYC and learned to love my new home.

At 26: Put myself out there (online and in person) and learned how rewarding it could be. Learned that no matter how hard you work and how good you are at something, some people will never get past their own mental roadblocks or perceptions of you. Realized that others' mental roadblocks or perceptions of you should never stop you from working hard and doing good work. Saw the fruits of my budget as I paid off the last of my student loans.

At 27: Deepened friendships new and old. Denied for a year that I was in my late-20s. Took a huge leap of faith with a big move and a big career change. Continued putting myself out there in an even more intimidating environment.

Things I'd love to say next year about being 28:
  • Learned to be a good friend from afar. I hate the phone and am inconsistent with emails, but friendships are not going to maintain themselves. I have a lot to learn.
  • Learned to take care of myself. My eating habits are not bad, but my health and exercise habits are terrible. I learned during my eczema breakout earlier this summer how important it is to care for my body, starting with a regular exercise and vitamins.
What have you learned from life so far and what do you hope to learn this coming year? 

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Shameless Plug: I've entered Lucky Magazine's search for a new Lucky Life contributor! Rounds 1 and 2 were qualifiers, and now it's all based on fan votes. So if you like Lucky Magazine—or if you just like me—check out my Modern Mediterranean Birthday entry and vote! [Lucky log-in/registration required.] Voting for this round ends Friday. Thank you!

11 comments:

  1. Happy Birthday! Looks like you have accomplished a lot, even in terms of the world (married, Master's Degree, career, that's big stuff!). Congrats on all you've done and I hope 28 is fabulous!

    North Meets South

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  2. Great lesson you have learned along your journey! (and as aide I didn't realize you were married so young!) I think you are so well accomplished even though I don't know you in real life you seem to have it all together!

    The long distance friendship think is difficult to keep up but definitely put the effort in! There are some freinds I don't actually get to see for a year at a time but when we see each other it's like no time had passed!

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  3. OK, so maybe the comment box won't eat my comments anymore?

    Wow, you've done some major things while still being in your 20s. I think figuring out how to take care of yourself is a really important goal. (I gotta put it out there, maybe try being vegan for a week and see how you feel?)

    I've really enjoyed following your journey on your blog. And I voted for you! :)

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  4. Happy birthday Angeline !
    I had one of those moments recently. I attended a 50th birthday party where a short video with pictures of the birthday girl's life was played. Pictures of her as a baby, her brother and sister, high school, friends, marriage, kids, trips.... and then it hit me. What would my 7 minute movie be like when I get to that age ? I found it would be empty. So empty it would probably last a minute or 2.
    But I think yours will probably have at least 10 minutes :)
    AND answering your question about my nails, well I had them done.
    I have a bad case of the shaky hand, bad pulse.

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  5. Happy Birthday! I have learned that we don't always end up where we plan life to take us but that's not always a bad thing. Learning to find joy in where we are now is just as important.

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  6. First off - Happy Birthday!

    Second - I've learned that life may not go as you planned when you were in your teens and that's okay. It may be scary, it may be difficult, but it's a chance to take another adventure in life!

    Much luck and well wishes into your 28th year!

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  7. Happy Birthday! This is a great, great post. I've learned that life isn't always what you plan, but it always turns out the right way no matter what. Also - I find that I often look back and wish I had enjoyed the ride more and worried less, so I hope I can say that about myself at the end of the year. Great post. I hope 28 is all you wish for it to be!

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  8. Happy birthday, doll! I can't wait to see all the wonderful things you do this year!

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  9. @ Erica - Thank you! I guess it's a lot, but I don't want to lose momentum, either, so gotta keep truckin'!

    @ Elaine - Oh dear, you've been so fooled! I don't have everything together. :P And yes, I was but a bebe when I got married, but after 2 years of cross-country relationship, we just really wanted to be living in the same state (and how else could Sac compete with NYC?).

    @ Lorena - I'm pretty sure that if a video were to be made of your life, people would come forth with stuff you can't even remember that you've done that impacted their lives. You are so sweet and adventurous...you'd easily fill 10 minutes with just your travel experiences!

    @ I Dream of Diapers - So true...I've always been a worrier and a planner, so this past year has been really crazy for me (and even now, not having security as a freelancer can be a little rattling from time to time). I'll try to keep that in mind this year!

    @ S - Thanks, hon! Let's hope other folks (aka clients) think I'm as wonderful as you do. :)

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  10. What was your college major?

    Can't believe you paid off your student loans. Well I guess mine would be paid off if my husband still didn't have over 70,000 in them.

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