Most of the time, I’m quite glad to be done with my twenties. Not that my thirties have been all that great – everyone (and by everyone, I mean Oprah) kept telling me that in my thirties, I would have some stuff figured out and have more self-confidence. Ummm, yeah, not at all. But overall, I’m enjoying my thirties more than the twenties.
There are days that I long to be 23 again. Why 23? Well, it’s one of my good ages. I tend to get stuck at ages. For many years, I thought I was still 17. I got stuck at 23 for a long time. At the moment, I still think I’m 31. There are the obvious reasons I long to be 23 again – fewer wrinkles, better vision, more energy, less cellulite – but some not so obvious ones as well.
1) I was braver back then. Maybe it was actually a combination of inexperience and ignorance, but I didn’t worry so much. More action, less thought. I took risks. I didn’t care about others’ opinions. Consequences? What are those? Nowadays, I over think and do less.
2) I went after what I wanted. I knew what my dreams were, and I went after them. I wanted to be an actor, so I packed up and moved to Toronto to go to theatre school. Now, I’m like, ahhhh, but all my stuff is here, I can’t move, I’ve got a mortgage to pay, and blar blar blar.
3) I had fun and went on adventures. I explored Toronto to my heart’s content. I could get lost walking that city for hours. I went to new restaurants, and nightclubs, and museums, and festivals. Now, I stay home, eat BBQ chips, and watch Netflix.
4) I didn’t care if I failed. In fact, on the very first day of theatre school, I told myself that I was here to fail, not to succeed. I knew that I would only learn by making huge, awful, embarrassing mistakes. I miss that freedom. I can’t fail now. Failing now means not being able to support myself, pay the mortgage, or feed my dogs.
5) I was only doing what I loved the most. Acting, acting, and more acting. Those three years of theatre school were total bliss. And even the first few years after I graduated were awesome because back then I wasn’t willing to compromise. But when I approached my thirties, I started to really judge myself. What kind of university-educated 30-year old still works part-time at a coffee shop to support her acting addiction? A loser, that’s what kind. So, I tried to get a smart job, an appropriate job, and I have made myself miserable. I’m slowly getting back on track – I put up a sign above my desk that says, “Jamie Lee – you DO NOT like working in offices. DO NOT take another office job. Love, Jamie Lee.”
What about you? What do you miss about your younger self?
Image via J.Paxon Reyes