So the time has rolled around for my yearly summer pilgrimage to New Jersey. While I have been living in Washington for 6 years, New Jersey remains, and probably always will, my home. Besides the usually gluttony on Dunkin' Donuts coffee and taylor ham, two delicacies unavailable to me in Washington State, it has been lovely to just spend some much needed time with family, whom I haven't seen in a year.
I had coffee with my friend Christine last night, and she said something that got me thinking. During our conversation she said, "I love my twenties. I am really proud of what I have accomplished in them." Her positivity made me look at my own twenties with a critical eye. I still have two years left in my twenties, but what got me thinking was that Christine wasn't measuring herself by other people or their standards, but by her own ideas of what is important.
So here is my non-comparison based list of what I am proud of accomplishing in my twenties:
1. Getting healthy: At age 20, I hit a personal low. I weighed 98 pounds and was struggling with depression. By working with several good therapists and spiritual directors, I was able to put on some weight and began running- something I love. While it is still a battle to love my body, I am a healthy 130 now and have run 6 half-marathons, something I wouldn't have dreamed I could do at 20.
2. Becoming (and staying) a teacher: This is my vocation. To make it happen, I took the risk of moving to Washington, and everything has worked for the good. I love my job, my students, my coworkers. I know this is the profession I will continue to grow in and love.
3. Meeting and marrying the right person: Willie is the yin to my yang. We met at a trivia game at Bert's pub in 2009 and got married in 2013. We have a wonderful life together and it is just starting for us. The world is our oyster.
4. Finding my inner leader: I used to be a pushover. I had perfected my role of "side-kick friend" and always felt vaguely unhappy in that. I think my biggest obstacle to overcome in this regard was the fact that I constantly compare myself to other people. This is still something that I am working on, but I know it's gotten a lot better.
5. Taking a leap of faith: At 21, I packed two suitcases and moved to the West Coast. I didn't know I had it in me, but I did. I have now lived there for six years, and while I would love to move closer to my family, the idea of being in a new place and learning new things no longer scares me.
If you are reading this, and want to take the time to comment, what are five things you are proud of accomplishing in any decade of your life?