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?