I absolutely love my birthday, and I’m not one to shy away from birthday acknowledgement and celebration – in fact, the running joke between HomieLoverFriend and I is that years ago, I told him one day my birthday would be a national holiday. To date, I haven’t figured out what amazingly influential thing I’ll do to make that come true, but it’s still part of my life plans. In the weeks and days before each birthday, I tend to sit within myself and reflect on the year that is coming to a close – but with my 29th revolution around the sun reaching its finish, I’m sitting here looking back at the decade that was, and imagining the life I want to create in the decade to come.
If I could give my 20s a theme, I think I’d call it the decade of lost and found, or I’d liken it to the act of picking a bouquet of flowers. In my 20s, I gathered experiences that matured me and subsequently felt the winds of change blow away everything I thought I knew. More than once, I’ve had to start gathering my bouquet over again, but the act of lost and found defined me throughout my 20s.
I found the greatest love of my life, then suffered the worst heartbreak of my life. I felt a false sense of power in relationships where he cared about me more than I did him. I had wild nights with my girls, lived the line bypass life, and made Tequila Rose shots my signature drink of the summer of 2005. I achieved educational excellence and started to step out of my shy shell. I took a leap and left the only home I had ever known for the bright lights and big city of Toronto. Health issues knocked me on my ass, but I got back up again and kept living. I worked hard and felt a sense of pride in what I did. I grew to love soca and learned how to cook. I put stamps in my passport. I re-found love, got married, and obtained a new alter-ego – “Mrs. Quammie.” I lost family members in the physical sense, but found myself visited by angels who watch over me closely. I lost sister-friends who were supposed to be there forever, but either found ways to redefine our relationship, or found ways to move on and be OK with the bittersweet memories. I got brave, I got creative, and I found my voice. I stopped thinking about how I was “supposed” to do things, and started doing them in the ways that made sense for me. I nearly reached the end of my rope, but time and time again learned that my grip is strong.
29 was a particularly challenging year. It seemed like my 20s wanted to cram in as much lost and found as possible before I hit 30, but I choose to believe that it happened in such a way to prepare me for the future. I’ve never been more grateful for good days. I’ve never been more hungry for the best life has to offer. I’ve never been as sad as I’ve been at some points this year, but I’ve never been so hopeful for the amazing things to come. Like I wrote in a recent post, I like the woman I’m becoming. Sometimes she needs to be coaxed out of her shell, and sometimes she makes me work hard to earn the right to revel in my womanhood, but she’s there. 30 has got to be good – it’s going to be good, and I know it will because my 20s (especially 29) showed me just how much I can guide the happenings of my life.
I’ll be taking the next few days to ponder what was and think about what’s to be. A new decade, let alone a new year is the time for a fresh start, so I’ll be letting go of that which doesn’t serve me and will get ready for the wonderful things that will find room for themselves in my life. The 20s were a hell of a ride and made a beautifully elaborate bouquet – and I’ll look back fondly at the lessons learned and life lived forever.
How would you define your 20s? For those who are in their 30s (and beyond) how was the transition into that new decade? Are the 30s as good as everyone says they are? What’s the best thing you’ve experienced in your 30s?