(ENG only) I was born on Sep. 7th 1985. It was a Saturday and according to Google nothing relevant happened on that day. 1985 was the year of Microsoft Windows 1.0, LiveAid, Back to the Future (which I’m ashamed to admit I’ve haven’t watched yet), and the name Jessica was the most popular name in the US for girls (I guess that with Jenny I got pretty damn close, though Jessica would have made my life so much easier as a kid because by growing up in a non English speaking country almost no one could understand that my name was Jenny and not Jennifer or Jessica indeed. But that’s a whole another story).
I’ve always been a dreamer, since I was a little girl. And when I dream, I dream big. Every year I imagine being much further on my life plan, like those vivid colored daydreams I play over and over in my head. If only I had a life plan. At least not a long term one. Anyhow, here I am again, making a probably unnecessary but inevitable evaluation, putting things on a scale that I shouldn’t even be measuring, hyper analyzing, over criticizing myself and everything I’ve done this far.
Turning 36 feels weird. Because I am getting closer to that 40 a lot of people seem to be scared of. Because I don’t feel like being 36 at all (well maybe I do considering that sometimes I fall asleep way before 10 pm). It feels like I have been failing at and missing many things along the way and still here I am, 36 trips around the sun later. They say that age is not really, or at least not exclusively, the one that is written on your ID, but also the one you feel like having. And if I have to be honest I have no clue how old I am.
I am nowhere close where I wanted to be at this point in life and yet I am much further than expected. During the years, as I was growing up, I think I’ve imagined dozens of plausible career paths: hairdresser, kindergarten teacher, vet, archeologist, criminologist, small business/shop owner, social worker, blogger and writer, content creator, photographer, digital nomad, bass player in a punk rock band, radio host. And these are just the ones I can remember here on the spot. Not to mention the various life scenarios I’ve pictured: married with a big fancy wedding, married with an elopement, not married at all, with kids, without kids, traveling around on a van, taking a sabbatical year, living the most ordinary life and doing the same job for years (and being happy about it), volunteering somewhere around the world, living in a city, living in a small town in the middle of nowhere, being much thinner than I am now, being good at sports, being good at crafty and artsy things, living in a different country (other than the ones I’ve already lived in), still living in my hometown. Etc etc etc. I could go on and on and on but I suck at making lists.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished that life came with the freaking instructions manual. Because if you ask me I feel like I’ve been doing all wrong when it comes to major life decisions. I think that my decisional skills suck just as much as my time management ones (somehow I am running late 8 times out of 10) and my list making ones. And now here I am, wishing I did it all differently, wishing I could start all over again, wishing I could turn back time and decide how the future is going to pan out. But all I have is the here and now. All I have is me and this moment: what is gone is gone already and what has to come yet won’t probably turn the way I picture it.
They say timing is everything but you also have to be pretty fierce and good at decision making too. Dealing with regrets and fears is hard. But spending time wishing it was all different or trying to picture all possible future scenarios does not bring a lot in the end, if anything it just makes you waste an incredible amount of time, making you feel even worse about yourself because of all the time wasted and the lack of action. As per now, I am a daughter, a sister, a friend, a mother (to a cat, but still a freaking mother as I see it), a content creator (not a good one if you ask me, but let’s not digress), a dreamer, an expat. I have been a student, a girlfriend. I have been many things, I am many things and will be many more in the future. I tried so hard so many times to fit into a tight description, to reach a certain status, to get to a certain stage, to play a certain role. So I could “finally” feel good about myself. But I have never fully realized that there is really nothing I can do that will finally make me feel like I am a whole person. Because I am a whole person already as I am now and everything I did so far, including mistakes and bad decisions, made me the person I am today. Nobody and no one else but me can judge me. Not even, and less than anybody, my fantasy self, the one who is always able to achieve everything that my weirdo brain is thinking, planning, dreaming.
So there. 36 years on this planet. A lot still to learn and somehow a lot learned already. The only gift I can give to myself is to try to be the best version of myself I can be and cut myself some slack if something doesn’t work out at its best. The rest will come on its own. “Getting by, looking ahead, the day you die.” (bonus point to you, dear reader, if you’re able to tell which movie this quote is from ❤️).