When I was a little girl I would fill journals with ideas of the kind of woman I was going to be. I was very specific, too. "Dolphin Trainer" "Marry Joey Lawrence." "Famous lead singer of an all-girl U.K. band." Never mind that I was crap at swimming, could be Joey Lawrence's child, and funnily not British. I was bent on being a really fabulous woman. I would write letters to myself thinking I would read them in the future. They would say things like: "GET OUT of Belmont and MAKE SURE you get famous before 18!!!!!!!!!!!! IF YOU ARE NOT FAMOUS BY 18 AND READING THIS, try for 22." I don't know why I was so specific or so weird, but I still have the journals, so the proof is there.
Proof that I have always been this way, I guess.
As I grew up I was a pretty fabulous person, in my humble and narcissistic opinion. I knew I wasn't going to be popular by being pretty, (this is not me fishing for a compliment. I am well aware that I'm not an ogre or anything, but let's face it...I had a uni-brow until I was 17 and people always told me I looked like that "sweet little girl that died" ANNE FRANK. I had no lofty ideas, ok?) So, I became funny. Well, funny-ish. Ok, obnoxious. I was loud, I was weird, I did things for attention like pin garbage in my hair and roll one pant leg up as high as it would go. The day the most popular girl, Sam Flynn, (hi Sam,) came into English class with some wrappers and garbage in HER hair, I knew I made it.
And then I had a horrible botched gallbladder surgery when I was 17, lost about 35 pounds, and a few boys started noticing me.
High school was a dream.
Surprisingly, (or stupidly,) I stuck to my dream of being famous. After a few years of idling my time away in Belmont I quit my job, packed up my car and headed for the bright lights of...Palo Alto, California. (Yeah, overshot a bit north of Hollywood.) I quickly figured out that I was a horrible actress, so I just decided to make my own adventures. I applied for a job as a bartender, and when they asked me if I had experience, I just swallowed my catholic guilt and lied boldly. "Yes. I'm actually a really, really good one too. I'm good at making the...drinks."
I had never bartended in my life, save the one time I made a bunch of drinks I dubbed "The Melissa" and 4 of my friends threw up after one. But I was determined. I got the job.
I lost the job 3 weeks later.
The thing was, I was 21 in California, I had about 20 dollars to my name, but I still managed to make life one grand adventure. I taught myself how to bake. I tried every job out there that I could. I made interesting friends, interesting memories, and traveled on a dime. Maybe it wasn't what society expected of me, but it was my adventure. I may have been flawed, but I sure as hell was interesting.
I grew up, as people do, and had different adventures. I met/stalked/married Brett. I put myself through school as I tried (and ended up loving,) being a nanny. I traveled with Brett- more adult travel now, but as fulfilling as traveling with nothing. We had champagne on the top of the Eiffel Tower, we walked beaches of southern Italy, we swam in the Mediterranean. We snuck boxed wine into the Vatican. We adventured.
So, this leads me to tonight. A night where I came home from a full day and collapsed on my couch. I greedily reached for my laptop, and before I knew it I had spent the entire evening watching T.V. on my computer. Darkness settled around the un-tended corners of my apartment, I still had my jacket on, and when I snapped the lid shut of my laptop I blinked rapidly when I was suddenly plunged into darkness. I contemplated sleep.
It was 7:10 pm.
Staggering to the bathroom, remembering I had dinner plans with a friend, I looked at my face hard in the mirror. I looked- tired. I looked lined and washed out and so very tired. I was horrified when I realized the only thing I wanted to do was put on pajamas and sleep. I AM 28 YEARS OLD. On Friday nights of my past I was usually painting or singing or discovering...something. And all I wanted to do was curl up in a bed and be...uninteresting.
It made me think of the T.V. show I had watched that evening. A couple was talking about how they were in a rut and how they had lost their "spunk". An evening happened that ended where their car was stolen and they were more concerned about the pot pies they had left in the back seat for dinner.
I totally related.
NOTHING sounded better to me than a good pot pie and my fuzzy socks. But, I rallied. I even pulled a brush through my hair and joined my friend for dinner.
I had a great time.
I'm not trying to say that we all need to shirk responsibility and cater to every selfish need to live out our own adventures. Marrying Joey Lawrence would indeed be selfish because while it may be "exciting" 1.) I am so not attracted to him anymore. Google him. 2.) WHO THE FUCK KNOWS WHO HE IS? and, also, I married someone that at 10 years old, is dreamy enough that if handed his picture, I would have swooned on the spot. Joey Lawrence who?
THE THING IS: we have to create our own adventures. I confess I looked in the mirror tonight and wondered if I would ever be exciting again. In fact, the other day, a sweet, stupid woman told me that the only thing I had to look forward to was raising a family. "You've done it all, sweetheart," she trilled. "You have one last adventure in your life."
What she didn't realize is that she was wrong. Yes, a family is an adventure on my horizon, but it is not my only one. I may be tired right now, but there is so much more to come. You cannot be a crazy broad like me and not have something brewing on the back burner. There will be trips, hopefully books, failures, frustrations, laughter, love, blood, tears, maybe zombies. I may need to take a pause right now, but I am only as old as I define.
I am the author of my adventures, and I'm not giving up. There may be new lines on my face, but they are lines I will add to the pages of the book of my life.
I'm still exciting. I'm still learning. And who knows?
Maybe garbage in the hair is the next big thing.