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BOTH SIDES NOW

It used to seem so far away. Like you're in the middle of the ocean, searching for land that you know is there, but you are unable to see it. Tomorrow, I'll have finally crash landed on my thirties.


As I'm approaching thirty, I think about all that I have (or haven't yet) accomplished. If I were to ask my ten year old self where he saw our life going in twenty years, he would say something along the times of: "We're going to live in a brownstone in either New York City or Georgetown, teaching kids everything there is to know about Language Arts." My current self would look at this wide-eyed young man, bend down on a knee so I'm eye to eye with him, and slap him across the face.


"Who can afford a brownstone in New York or Georgetown on a teachers salary?"


But then I'd hug him and tell him: "Never stop dreaming; Dream as big as you possibly can. They're all that will get you through the worst days."


That's what I'm looking forward to, when I turn thirty. In this time, I have realized that my twenties were simply an extension of my teen years, only this time I can buy alcohol myself instead of finding an older sibling to get it for me. The more I think of it, in your twenties, you still don't know what you're doing, for the most part. You leave high school thinking that you're going to conquer the world. That you will no longer need help from your parents because now you're an adult. But what are you able to do at eighteen, truly? At eighteen, you're able to fight (and die) for your country, able to buy cigarettes and lottery tickets, able to vote, but you're not able to buy alcohol. You can't rent a car and, in some states, you can't gamble at a casino.


If you choose to go to college or any other post-secondary institution, you're still able to be in a safety net. You have a schedule to follow, rules to follow. If you're one of the lucky ones, you don't have to worry about bills, yet, because your parents are still helping out. You're given the false sense that you're "adulting" but you're still not able to make that doctors appointment for yourself. By the time you're done with school, you think THIS is the time you're finally able to do all the adult things you really wanted.


Then you realize how expensive rent is, utilities (and yes, internet is a necessary utility that's often more expensive than anything else). You're twenty-three now and still can't call the doctor without calling your mom first and asking what to say. Your car makes strange noises, so instead of going to a mechanic, you call your dad, who tells you to just go to a mechanic.


You never go.


I always thought that when I was done with school, I would be one of those people that wouldn't need their parents for anything. That I was finally able to make my own decisions because I saw how they did it and I wasn't going to repeat the mistakes that I thought they made. Instead, as I approach this new decade, I realize how much I've become like my parents. Now that I'm finally in my own apartment, with my own things, paying my own bills, I've come to realize that I look at life very similar to my parents. From how I want everything to have a place to the art I have on my walls, everything screams my parents.


This decade, I've decided, is going to be that first time where I am able to make adult decisions. A few years ago, I was talking with friends I went to college with. We all were talking about the weekends that we had, the drinks we regretted. Those were our normal conversations - just as carefree as we were in our college days. Now, it's all about who is next to get married. Or, if they're already married, if (or when) are they thinking of starting a family. That's what most would call "growth". I know that, as we age, our conversations drift toward these things. It's inevitable. But these are the conversations that, five years ago, we spoke about, but never really thought about. Now, as most of my close friends are starting their "adulting" phases, I feel like I'm a little behind.


Then I tell myself that life is a marathon, not a sprint. Things will come when they're supposed to. I had a lot of fun in my twenties. It was my time to search for who I was (as evidenced in my previous posts). Now that I'm there, I think that my thirties will be a time of prosperity. It'll be the decade where I'm finally able to see the bigger picture. Will it be perfect, absolutely not. There will be challenges, but what is life without them?


Joni Mitchell, the singer/songwriter the title of this blog is based on, sang these words:


"I've looked at life from both sides now / From win and lose and still somehow / It's life's illusions I recall / I really don't know life at all"


Like Joni, I really don't know life at all.


I am excited to find out.


- G


Title: Both Sides Now

Artist: Joni Mitchell

Year Released: 1966

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