November is the best month of the year. For a couple of reasons. First and foremost, my birthday is in November. Second and secondmost, November brings Thanksgiving and pumpkin pie and cozy times. It also marks the beginning of the Christmas season, the most wonderful time of the year. Nowadays, we can add to the list the fact that November is when it starts cooling down in the Caribbean and the fact that the mix of Dominican and America holidays we observe at Las Palmas means fewer school days and more sleep in days than most months. Additionally, November is the National Novel Writing Month, which I’m sure you know by now, and novel writing is a good thing.
On the first day that the 2012 YouthWorks Brooklyn team was all together Aaron, our Site Director, held our About Me sheets in his hands. He looked through them briefly, then flipped through them again a little faster. He looked up at Kyle, Catherine, and me and said, “Wait – all your birthdays are right in a row.” So add to the list of November awesomeness the Brooklyn Birthday week and it all makes for a darn good month.
This November I will be turning TWENTY-FIVE, which seems like a milestone. Also, my iPod will be turning EIGHT, which seems like a miracle. Twenty-five years makes a quarter of a century. Twenty-five sounds adult. Twenty-five kind of feels adult, too. And twenty-five has gotten me thinking. Am I where I thought I’d be? Part of life is self-evaluation, looking at your life and asking yourself, How’s it going? Am I good? Where would I like to be? How should I get there? What do I need to change today to make that happen? So here’s a little quarter of a century self-evaluation made available for all the internet to see.
THINGS I THOUGHT I’D HAVE AT 25 THAT I DO NOT HAVE
A husband. I went to college to get a degree in Education and to learn Spanish but I also went to college to find a husband. My plan was to meet a dreamy guy freshmen year, date him, and then marry him after we graduated. Then I somehow managed to spend five years at a Christian university (where basically everyone is also looking for a post-graduation wedding) without ever going on a single date. I’m like a legend.
A caffeine addiction. This is debatable because I really love Coca Cola, but I feel pretty confident in stating that I am not addicted to caffeine. I can easily go without it without getting a headache, is what I’m saying. I always imagined that drinking coffee was something that adults did and that by the time I reached 25 I’d have succumb to the peer pressure and the sleepy mornings and starting drinking the stuff but (for the most part) I haven’t. I have discovered very recently that I do actually enjoy drinking coffee, but I have zero desire to develop a dependency on it. If I’m tired every day, I will get more sleep, not drink more caffeine. Coffee is just for fun around here.
Make-up. Here I sit, a woman of (nearly) twenty-five and I do not own one stitch of make-up. Not even a tube of mascara although I used to keep one handy for special occasions. The closest thing to make-up I own are my tweezers and even those haven’t been used in a while. (Is there any feeling worse than plucking your eyebrows? I just hate it!) I figured that, like coffee, make-up is just something I would eventually start using because in my mind, adult women wear make-up. But guess what? I never learned how to put on make-up and I have no desire to learn. It sounds time consuming and expensive and messy. I’ll stick with my natural, adult woman face.
A more regular shower schedule. (This is so silly, but these are the kinds of things I think of when I think of adults and the future. Or at least the kinds of things I thought of.) I like to shower at night because then my hair gets to dry while I sleep and I just do something with it in the morning. Also, I like to wash away the cares of the day and go to bed feeling fresh. If I shower in the morning I have to blow dry my hair which takes approximately 100 years and in this land of the humid would be totally pointless as I’d work up a sweat while blow-drying my hair that would totally undo everything the shower had just done. Also, showering in the morning seems silly to me because I haven’t done anything yet. So I still take showers at night (or in the afternoon, whatever better fits my outfit schedule) even though it at one time seemed so juvenile.
A car. I had a car (of which I paid for one-third, thank you parents) until it broke down in my parents’ driveway after a trip to Maryland. Then an extra car my parents had lying around until I moved to the DR. That’s the car I still use (since my mom usually has a car from work, thank you General Motors) when I’m in the States, but I’ve never bought a car or paid car insurance and nowadays I go for months at a time without driving a car. In fact, I probably go for months at a time without ever actually being in a car. International living in crazy.
THINGS I HAVE AT 25 I NEVER THOUGHT I’D HAVE
Fluency in a second language. I’ve been learning Spanish for over half my life, but I don’t know if I ever believed I’d be conversational. Yet here I am, speaking Spanish every day, getting better and better at it all the time.
A novel in the works. I’ve always liked to write but it wasn’t until last year that I thought an actual book bearing my actual name could actually make it out into the world. It’s totally happening, though.
A summer in Brooklyn. Honestly, I kind of expected NYC to be overrated, but it totally wasn’t. YouthWorks gave me the chance to live there for ten weeks and I’m super grateful for it. I also love being able to say that I lived in Brooklyn, even if it was only for a summer.
A crockpot. Who knew I’d eventually learn to cook and learn to love it? Who knew crockpots were not just for working moms?
My iPod. My seventeenth birthday has been my best birthday ever presents-wise. My dad got Pistons tickets from a guy from work that were SECOND ROW. We were so close and that was when I was big into the NBA. He also got me a video iPod, which I still have an use almost daily (you know, to listen to Harry Potter audio books and stuff). It’s still in the case it was in when I unwrapped it almost eight years ago and it still works like a dream. The only bummer is that I lost all my music off my computer the last time I got a new laptop so I can’t put any new music on my iPod. Because I’d really like to get my hands on some more audio books, I’ve asked for a new iPod for my birthday this year. Old Faithful will still be around though, providing me with plenty of early 2000s jams and Harry Potter audio books.
What can I say? Life is good. It’s good to be turning twenty-five. I feel capable (for the most part), independent (if you don’t count the monthly check and the frequent “HELP”s), and confident (except for when a boy I like dates someone who isn’t me). Everything I thought I needed by the age of twenty-five turned out to be extra. The truth is, it’s raining on the tin roof and the mountains are just over there. I went on an international road trip (mototaxi, bus, taxi, bus, taxi) by myself this weekend. I have a big girl bed all to myself and my only responsibilities are to love God, love my students (and other people), and pay my three monthly bills (apartment, electric, wifi). I have really awesome friends who are smart and encouraging and who look like Jesus. I have a Netflix account and a digital library. Twenty-five is looking pretty good. Praise God forever, Hallelujah, Amen.