Thursday, January 14, 2010

Your girl Shabs hits the big 3-UH OH.

When I was 15, a friend of my mother's gave me some great advice. The first thing she told me was to lose my habit of chewing the inside of my cheeks because it would give me deep naso-labial folds that would make me look like a crone by my mid-twenties. I didn't listen (no cronage yet, though.) The second piece of advice, however, was something that I carried around in the back of my mind all throughout my 20's.

Here is what she said to me: " Allow yourself to make your mistakes, have your fun and figure out who you are during your twenties. Don't get married and have babies, don't become a slave to work and don't become old before your time. When you make it to the end of that decade in one piece, look back at what really affected you and evaluate. Take stock of your mistakes and resolve not to repeat them. Then, buckle down and get on with adulthood."

Brilliant advice. Thanks, Chrissy.

Last Saturday night, I celebrated my 30th birthday with a group of friends both old and new. The age range was from roughly 24 to 40, and I found it very interesting to note the difference in which both ends of the spectrum approached the evening's festivities. You see, we went to a bar. I know. BUT, in my defense, it was a bar known for it's older and more well-behaved clientele. There were no 18 year olds throwing up in the restrooms, although there was a significant amount of leg humping going on (more on that later). ANYWAY, at the very beginning of the night, one of my friends came up and said in a soothing voice "Don't worry, 30 is the new 20."

My response: "Bitch please, I certainly hope not because I was such an idiot when I was 20."

But you know what? That is not necessarily a bad thing. According to Chrissy, I did everything that I was supposed to do. For your reading enjoyment, I have condensed the top 5 "Things I did wrong but oh-so-right in my 20's" into a comprehensive, but not chronological list:

1. I dated Mr. Wrong. For seven years. I got engaged to him twice. That's right, TWICE. We had nothing in common, fought all the time, disagreed on everything, had none of the same values or priorities (read: my priority was to get a university degree, his was to lift heavy stuff while quaffing whey protein drinks and taunting me about how I thought I was "soooo smuurt"). He abruptly dumped me one night. While it was happening, I was mostly just annoyed that he was talking during Will and Grace. Ah, true love.

2. I was a bar star. It could have been worse, I didn't ever come close to being in rehab or anything of the sort, but I did my fair share of hair-flipping and poutyface dancing while flirting with boys who I couldn't really see in the dark. I made a fool out of myself wayyy more than once but luckily never ended up in really compromising situations (except for the time when I went to grab something from my hotel room during my friend Fraser's wedding reception and had a door kicking spazz because the card wouldn't open the door. Unfortunately, I went down a wrong , yet identical, corridor and there was a family with children huddling terrified in their room while I screamed obscenities at their door thinking it was my empty room that I couldn't access.) I am so grateful that my bar star days were before the advent of camera phones and facebook. Lawwd.

3. I suffered from MPSBC, that is Multiple Personality Syndrome By Choice, meaning I tried on many different roles in order to test out what worked and what didn't. I started off a Mean Girl, then moved on to Diplomat, Over-opinionated Snob, Hippie, Basket Case, Political Activist, Radical Feminist, then Party Girl, then Doormat, then Pseudo-Tame Librarian, then Shabs Warrior Princess, etc. You get the point.

4. I struggled with boundary setting. This was an important one for me. I had to learn how to set my limits and communicate them in a way that didn't unleash the Angry Black Woman that has always lived inside me. I also had to accept that some people couldn't live with my boundaries, which was disappointing but also very freeing. (PS- If I ever start my own PR firm, I think I am going to call it "Angry Black Woman Communications". What do you think?)

5. I worked a bunch of jobs that didn't allow me to use my strengths. Although I did my best at those jobs and leaned a great deal about interpersonal communication as well as professional growth, I knew something was missing. I allowed the jobs to direct me instead of directing myself toward the opportunities that would allow me to put my skills to their best use. Why? Because I didn't yet know what my greatest strengths were. I just knew that people said I was really smart. I thought that would get me through. Ah, grasshoppah- so naive.

I could go on, believe me.

So there I was, at the bar on my birthday (for some reason) looking around at the other people dancing and grouping them by what I thought were their motives. To sum it up, there were the deli dwellers, those who were only there for the "meat", if you catch my drift; the charlottes, girls who are looking for husbands and just seem exhausted from the effort; test drivers, leg humpers who just there to sample the goods and see if they find something that might be a long term fit; the Young MCs, people there to bust a move; and couples, two kinds: jealous and secure. I realised that I have been all of those people over the last ten years and I am happy that I was.

You see, darlings, I feel like I got all of my craziness out of my system and am ready to "buckle down and get on with adulthood". I travelled, finished my education, partied, made a bunch of really stupid mistakes, played with identity, met all kinds of different people, learned about my strengths and weaknesses and how to manage them, met the perfect man, moved back to my home province, set up a nest and am on the cusp of beginning an exciting new career. I followed Chrissy's advice to the letter and am so happy that I did. Now, I am ready to really go for it. I want the kids and the career and the ongoing great partnership with my husband and the evolution of old relationships along with the blossoming of new ones.

See you at the top, bitches.


Anonymous said...

I would absolutely hire any PR agency named Angry Black Woman Communications. How could you not?

Carla said...

Plus, you would basically be guaranteed that all your clients had a good sense of humour, LOL.

Anonymous said...

I first discovered your blog because of your BILF post on GG.  I rarely read blogs and definitely don't post comments. I'm really happy that I read this blog entry though. I'm in my mid-20s and recently my cousin told me that I need to be less rigid and to not be afraid of making mistakes. At this point in my life, I feel like I should be mature and know how to be an "adult". After reading your post, I laughed and your comprehensive list has allowed me to understand a bit more of the wisdom she was trying to pass on. So, thank you for the enlightenment I've discovered tonight.

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