This past week was my golden birthday-I turned 25 on April 25. I am now a quarter of a century old. Scary! Since Ted, my boss, has been out of town for the past week and a half I have had a lot of time to myself to think over what being twenty-five really means, to re-visit some of the highlights of the past 25 years, and to think about what I want to do with the next 25 years.
In many ways, these 25 years have flown by but, at the same time, five years ago seems like an eternity. I’ve done so much and yet feel like I’ve done so little. At alternate times in my past I’ve dreamed that when I turned 25 I’d be a historian studying old texts in Europe, traveling the world as a writer, have my own production company, be a costumer to movie stars or (according to my kindergarten self) be either an astronaut or a ballerina. I don’t think I ever imagined I would be turning 25 in the same job I’ve held since high school, with a wonderful husband and a one bedroom apartment in Glendale, less than ten miles from where I grew up. I think that if I had a chance to go back and tell my eight year old self where I would wind up today I think my eight-year-old self would kick my twenty-five-year-old self in the shins and pout for a week. My eight year old self also didn’t have a lot of friends and spent her evenings wishing to be kidnapped by dragons and drawing huge fantasy maps. I would like to tell my eight-year-old self that being an astronaut requires a math degree, being a ballerina requires years and years of painful practice and vicious competition, and being a starving artist is highly overrated. The dragon kidnapping, however, I’m still holding out on.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m increadibly happy where I am. When I think of all the things that I’ve experienced over the past twenty five years (mostly in the last ten years), I have to say that, even though I may not have travelled precisely in the direction I thought I would go, the ride hasn’t been dull. Here’s ten highlights (I was trying to do a top ten, but I know I’m forgetting some big ones that I’m probably going to regret later):
1. Being the co-head (and founder) of the student-run costume department at my high school. I learned how to plan and finish a project and be proud of my work.
2. Travelling to Paris with the high school drama class– a trip which bit me with the travel bug.
2. Joining the SCA, where I found a whole new gaggle of geeks who understood why I went wild over medieval artifacts.
3. Meeting my future husband, who taught me how to let gentlemen open doors for me.
4. Spending time with my grandparents: Eldo and June Tessman before they passed away (I don’t have a picture of them on my computer, which makes me very sad)
5. Backpacking around Europe for two months with Le Quad– best friends ever!
6. Graduating USC with a business degree- I can’t belive how much those two years changed me.
7. Taking Le Quad annual camping trips to the ends of California- always enjoying being friends and seeing something new.
8. Working as Development Director at needtheater and getting my feet wet in the theater industry.
9. Getting married to the man of my dreams (duh!)
10. Traveling to Italy on our Honeymoon
In the past twenty-five years I have travelled new places, learned many new things, and met wonderful new friends. So, what should I do in my next twenty five years? That has been the question I have been pondering for the last five days. And here, set down forever-ish in the internet ether, are my goals for the next twenty-five years of my life (does not have to be completed in order):
1. Still be happily married to Michael Wahlquist.
2. Get a Master’s degree in Professional Writing or Creative Writing.
3. Publish at least one full-length fiction novel.
4. Have at least one child and/or adopt at least one child.
5. Travel to the following places: Southeast Asia, Central/South America, Israel, Egypt, and the city of Petra, Madagascar, Australia, China, Japan, Russia, Iceland, Greenland, and Scandanavia. (Hey, I’ve got 25 years, I can dream big).
6. Own a house.
7. Have enough money so that I can a) Pay someone else to do my laundry, b) Buy an annual pass to Disneyland, c) Give back to the world in some significant way.
8. Be in a job I am excited and passionate about.
9. Still take annual camping trips with Le Quad.
10. Be able to look at myself in the mirror with confidence on my fiftieth birthday and say that I have done my best at being myself.
Well, I’d better get started!