I have some major reflecting to do. This is probably going to be wordy so I apologize in advance. Wait…no. No I don’t apologize because as I reflect on the last 10 years of my life…there is a lot to say.
In a week I turn 30. The big 3-0. Over the hill. End of the world. Blah blah blah. I feel like 30 is supposed to be this big life altering right of passage and I, a woman, am supposed to fret about it as it means the death of my youth and the birth of a frumpy ass. So much time is spend fretting about hitting 30 and everyone expects you to be sad about it. While I have to admit that I’m not thrilled about getting older in general, because physically, I think I’m still mid-twenties and mentally I’m about 12. However, I am by no means dreading entering into a new decade. Lets just take a quick minute to rehash my twenties so you can get the full picture.
- 20 – I studied abroad in Austria
- 21- Spent my birthday alone because shortly before my birthday my long-term boyfriend and I broke up. Received a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis
- 22 – Got back together with said boyfriend….then he cheated on me due to limitations of my MS
- 23 – Bought a house! Got a new boyfriend! Started a career! 23 was greeeaaatttt.
- 24 – 24 was uneventful. It was the calm before the storm
- 25 – Ulcerative Colitis diagnosis. Heart surgery. Boyfriend turns into a douche.
- 26 – Surgery 2. Surgery 3. Goodbye Colon. Hello Ostomy. Good bye job. I got fired. Hello depression.
- 27 – Surgery 4. Surgery 5. Surgery 6. Hello J-pouch. Boyfriend is still a douche. Started grad school because what the fuck else was I doing. Also…depression.
- 28 – Broke up with douche nozzle boyfriend. Graduated Grad school. Started big girl job.
- 29 – Not dying anymore. Happy at my job. Met a unicorn.
So on paper, none of that looks particularly horrible, but I assure you 22 through late 28 sucked balls. In fact, I devoted this entire blog to chronicle just how many balls it sucked and I didn’t even start this sucker until I was 25. You, dear reader, missed out on 3 full years of absolute suckage. So the point of all of that, was really just to say that while all of my peers and counterparts were out there getting wasted, banging randoms, and making awesome mistakes, I was trying to stay alive. Barf, that sounds so dramatic even if its true. While everyone else was getting promotions…I was getting “promoted” out of the ICU into a regular hospital bed where I was allowed to pee without a nurse watching over me. Exciting stuff here. But this is where I end my pity party for my twenties.
It seems only appropriate that in order to commemorate the death of my twenties that I must also shed light on the cool shit that happened. I shall write a list.
- I didn’t marry anyone who turned out to suck
- I got my bachelors and masters degrees
- People wanted to employ me
- I bought, maintained (kinda), and managed to not lose my own house
- I went to Camp Oasis like 5 times and it changed everything about me in the most beautiful way possible
- I networked like a mother fucker and made friends upon friends upon friends who totally get me
- I ran a half marathon
- I traveled a lot – saw most of Europe and a decent amount of America and lived in a foreign country
- I became really close with my family
- I was in a docu-series about awesome millennials in the US
- I’ve spoken at a conference and in front of other large groups of people about living with IBD/a Jpouch/MS/Ect.
- I play mother fucking roller derby
- and…I’m creating an empire. Yes. That’s what I’m going to call it. I believe that Girls With Guts will be my empire and we will take over the IBD world one patient at a time and we will change things. We have changed things. Girls With Guts is possibly the single most important thing that I have ever done with my life and maybe that I will ever do.
So even though I can look back on my twenties and see a giant barrel of suck….there are still a lot of really awesome things that happened. So that is why I’m, dare I even say it, excited about my thirties. My theory is that my thirties are going to be just like my twenties except with less hospitals and more money. I was broke in my twenties…like…legit broke. Medical debt, no job, just above poverty level when I did have a job, etc. etc. But my thirties? I’m rooting for a decade of zero medical debt, being gainfully employed and doing really cool shit. Now this doesn’t mean I’m going to throw caution to the wind and get all bat shit crazy and do dumb things and pretend I’m 20 again. Nay, I was not crazy then, I will not be crazy now. I cannot and will not forget that I WAS (am) very sick for years and that experience changed me as a person mentally and very much so physically. If I’m honest, the reality is my thirties probably will have a fair amount of sickness in them. While IBD *might* be behind me (Get it? Behind me.) It doesn’t mean that my thirties won’t be the decade of MS being a dick. Who the hell knows. All I know that things change, illnesses can in fact change and priorities change. I wrote this 30 before 30 list in 2010 and I’ve accomplished like 5 things on it but when I looked at the stuff that I did accomplish before 30, I’m not mad. There were so many things that came out of my twenties that I couldn’t have even fathomed to put on a list.
So while my wrinkles may start to deepen, and maybe even my ass will start to frump…who the hell cares. Not only are my twenties now behind me, and I actually fucking survived them, but the things that happened during that whole decade made me into someone I think is pretty dang cool. Life is hard sometimes and I am by no means the paradigm of how to handle crisis, but I did my best, I learned a lot and I feel as though I’m ready to take on the next 10 years with grace. Come on, who am I kidding. I’ve never done anything with grace. Instead, I’ll take it on with sass and power words but with a significantly better attitude than my younger years and a shit ton more confidence than I ever had as a twenty something.
Also…for fun, I polled my friends about cool things I’ve done since they’ve known me. Sometimes your friends say the best things.
- rescued dogs
- bought a house before any of my other friends
- you also rode tons of roller coasters
- you get cool haircuts
- you introduced the team to the Human Centipede
- pooped in your boyfriend’s bed and had the courage to tell the world about it
- Actually played mouse trap the way it was intended
- You worked your ass off and you keep pursuing fitness. That’s a big deal!
- You got me through a 5k