With my 24th birthday just around the corner, I can relate to Annye's friend feeling anxiety about her big 2-4. It's not so much that I'm turning 24 though. It's that I'm almost 25. Which, for some reason, sounds more scary to me than 30. Twenty five brings me some self-induced pressure to have life figured out. Mainly because that is when everyone else starts figuring it out. Damn peer pressure. By thirty though, no one gives a crap. Your married friends are married and your single friends are still whining about being single. At 30, I'll have accepted my lot in life. It will mark that period in my life where I'll know who I am and what I believe. I'll either be engaged and annoying, or embarrassing Aunt Jena who eats all the time and has way too many dogs. (Who are we kidding...I'll be fabulous Aunt Jena with the killer wardrobe and fully-stamped passport.) Regardless, as a neurotic individual I can't wait for that time in my life where my mind will just stop.
Being that my magical age is a good six years away, I have made it a goal of mine to make sure my twenties do not suck. I've heard various friends of mine in their 30s talk about their 20s as a travesty. How lost they were. How they made such bad decisions. How they'd never do them over. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure I'm going to have to look back on this decade with a lot of self-forgiveness, but you can bet your ass I'm going to look back on it with a lot of fondness too.
When I try to freak out about the unknown, I reign myself back in and look at it this way. This may be the only time in my life I may not know what's next. Once I have a husband, or kids, that is my life. For the rest of my life. I'm going to bask in the glory of the unknown right now. To know that I could move to Colorado, or become a flight attendant, or sit on Facebook for hours on end every night when I get off work. Enjoy the fact that the only person I am responsible for is indeed, me.
But because I am only responsible for moi, I am trying to use this time in my life to do a little more than eat ungodly amounts of chips in my underwear. I want to make a difference. I want to make a change before my energy and my heart belong to a family of my own.
That is why I decided to become a CASA volunteer. Quick lesson on what exactly that is. It stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate. What it means is when a child is taken into the custody of The Department of Human Services, a judge may appoint me to their case to get to know the child, the family, and any other people involved. At the end of it all, I share with the court the information I gather and what I find to be in the best interest of the child--whether it be to return home or be adopted.
After a lot of hours of training, tomorrow I will be sworn in as an advocate. I am nervous, excited and extremely honored to be a part of something that makes a difference.
So this post is to remind my fellow 20 somethings to do something to make this decade count. Make your twenties roar. (Sorry, I couldn't help it.) Do something you are proud of. Use this time in your life to give back, try a new hobby or take that epic road trip. Take advantage of this chance to explore both the world around you and yourself. Test your limits. See what you can do -- you may surprise yourself!