I Am 35, and I Am Alive
If you didn’t read the title of this post and hear Johnny 5 from Short Circuit in your head, you clearly have homework to do. Go forth and watch! Just remember to come back and finish reading this post.
So today is my 35th birthday. 35 is one of those ages that makes you pause for a second and take a look at your life. It’s a reflection point for a lot of people, and I guess I’m one of them since I’m writing this. I spent a lot of time thinking of what I wanted to say, but I have no idea where this is going.
I am not a statistically stereotypical female of color. I am a 35 year old multi-racial female (i.e., black because that’s how I am seen in America) who:
- made it through her teen years without a pregnancy or any pregnancy scares
- never had a substance abuse problem
- never went to rehab for anything
- never had any legal entanglements or went to juvy
- never had a child out of wedlock (and is delighted to not have any children at all)
- never stayed in an abusive relationship
- received a high school diploma
Apparently someone like me is pretty rare if you look at the statistics (and listen to the drivel from our news media). These next few things make me a collectors item, which means I should ship with a certificate of authenticity.
- I skipped the 7th grade and graduated H.S. at 17
- I attained both a B.S. and an M.S.
- I have a full-time job with benefits
- I cave an actual career (despite the fact that it is just a job right now), and know where I want to take it
- I started my own business
- I purchased my first home without any assistance three years ago
- I’ve managed to keep my mean old tabby cat alive for 14 years
- I lost 80lbs
- I stopped chemically straightening my hair
Before 9/11, many of the things on that list wouldn’t have been notable achievements. A couple of wars, a global economic meltdown, fear-mongering politicians, and a news media that lacks integrity have made the “American Dream,” that we’re conditioned to chase our entire lives, virtually unattainable. So we’ve taken such a massive step backwards as a country, that just having a career and knowing where you want to take it is a pipe dream for most Americans.
OK! I’ve climbed down from my soapbox for the moment. You just have to admit that it is absurd that those two short bulleted lists make me some sort of statistical anomaly in this country. I’m a fucking outlier, and it’s gangsta.
I have no idea what the future holds, but there a few more milestones that I’d like to hit, things I would like to see and do, and a lot of things I would like to learn.
- I want to learn to drive a manual
- I want to write and publish a book
- I want to see Europe and the U.K.
- I want to own a biggish dog
- I want to become a competent photographer
- I want to see my gay friends have the same rights and privileges that I have
Despite the fact that I have day-to-day struggles, like all of us do, I always go to bed at night knowing that I’ve accomplished a metric ton of things on my own at only 35 years of age. None of them have brought me notoriety, none of them have brought me wealth, the combination of them have made me content, but they haven’t brought me happiness. It’s been a pretty good trip so far, and here’s to hoping that I’ve got more good road ahead of me than I’ve left in my rearview.