I turn 30 in tomorrow. 30 has always loomed large in my brain as a big momentous birthday, where you should have a certain number of life goals achieved, boxes checked on the “Life To-Do’s List” and in general, a pretty good idea of who you are and where you’re going. Now that it's here, I can tell you that’s all a giant load of shit.
Life goals? Ha.
To-do list? Does taking my laundry out of the dryer count?
Who I am and where I’m going in life? Now that I feel a whole lot more sure on.
My sister and I often joke that I should write a book about my life. The last ten years specifically have been a whirlwind of insanity and all joking aside, I’ve probably experienced more in the last decade than a lot of people do their entire lives.
Here's the 5 minute version of it. When I was 22, I emailed my mom to tell her that I was gay. Her biggest concern was that I sent the email from my work email. She also correctly predicted that I was more likely bisexual. Oh moms, they know you so well...
A few years later I then got gay married, not once, but twice (to the same person.) We were the 27th couple to be married legally in Washington State and were the media darlings, featured on RachelMaddow, Time, the Seattle PI, USA Today and who knows where else. Crazy, right? Well, there's more.
Six months of wedded bliss later, I was blind-sided by my wife leaving me for the woman she was nannying for.
(In all seriousness, we had a really rad wedding. So many friends, family, and loved ones came out and supported us. Check out the first link for a beautiful write up on Offbeat Bride of our ceremony-2 officiants, a flower farm, a little girl in a suit- it was pretty cool. I get asked all the time if I regret doing it and my answer steadfastly remains no. You can't predict when love will end, or change somebody else's behavior. I can only make my own decisions and how I react to situations.)
In retrospect, while heartbreaking, shitty, and a really awful way to leave somebody, my marriage falling apart at 26 was also the catalyst for me finding out all sorts of things about myself that I'm not sure I would have otherwise.
After we split, I moved to Capitol Hill, started biking, camping, traveling, and living for myself. I rediscovered what made me laugh, what fun was, that I’m a desirable person, and that I deserve to be loved. Since splitting from my partner, I’ve had the best sex of my life- with men, women, and plenty of them.
I've also traveled. I've ridden a moped around Cozumel and snorkeled on the most beautiful beach in the world. On that same trip, I kissed a public bus driver while he was still driving the bus! I smoked weed on a beach in Jamaica and rode a hand-controlled roller coaster in Haiti. I went mountain biking in the Virgin Islands on the rustiest bike you've ever seen. I swam under giant airplanes in St. Maarten on what has been named the most dangerous beach in the world and feared for my life as the taxi driver careened down the side of a mountain.
I've popped holes in too many bike tires to count, learned how to fix those same bike tires, and passed on my knowledge of bike maintenance to other women. I've learned how to set up a tent, a hammock, and that sometimes, the best place to sleep is under the stars.
I’ve learned to love myself. That it’s ok to say no. That it’s ok to say yes. It’s even better to say OH YES! It’s ok to do some drugs (in moderation, of course.) Life is meant to be lived- not as a series of milestones that society places on us just because that’s what we do. If I never get married or have kids, cool. If I do, that's ok too. But I’m not living my life just to find Mr. or Mrs. Right, buy a house, and pop out babies.
It’s just as ok to bike down a trail in the middle of the night singing at the top of your lungs as it is to go skinny dipping in Lake Washington. Actually, it’s more than ok, it’s perfect and wonderful and exactly what I need to do sometimes. I've learned that tandem bicycles are just as wonderful as they seem. Ride one if you get the chance. I've also realized that it's ok to sit at home sometimes, reading a book or tending my tomato plants. Quiet nights at home can be just as necessary.
I am so thankful that I discovered this, because dammit, life is fun. People, relationships, and adventures are fun. Yes, they’re hard sometimes too, but I truly believe we do it because it’s fun.
My goal for the next decade is to focus on this and remember that life isn’t so serious. None of us are getting out of here alive after all.