The last two weeks have felt like they lasted forever.
The closer my birthday drew, the more the reality sank in clearer than it ever has been: this is going to be the final year of my 20’s. It’s here. The “fun years” – the years everyone talks about being the “best years of your life” – are coming to an end.
I spent a good portion of the last two weeks evaluating the last nine years; and by that, I mean trying to convince myself that I haven’t wasted what is supposed to be the most exciting decade of my life.
Covering high school athletes for a living, as well as having several cousins a few years younger than me, I’m constantly exposed to what young adults are doing from ages 18-22. They’re partying. They’re traveling. They’re going to concerts. They’re living their best life.
I didn’t really party in college. Instead, I worked a few jobs, dated a girl with a child, and helped raise that child for the first two years of her life and two of the most formative years of my own.
In those four years, the only traveling I did was to Long Beach Island for my family’s annual summer vacation. I only went to one concert (and it wasn’t even Culture Shock, making me the worst Purchase alum ever). Living my best life? I was barely living any life at all.
My early 20’s featured my darkest days and my worst moments. The people who were there for them will tell you how bad they were from their perspective. It was five-times worse from my own, because there were things I never told them I was going through.
Most of my friends to this day don’t know how bad it was or how much worse it could have gotten.
Those are my first thoughts when I look back on my 20’s.
Then I think about my mid-20’s, and see how everything started to change.
There are the things I longed for that came to fruition like getting my first promotion, working my first Yankees game, having my first book published, and buying my first “new” car on my own.
Then there are things like starting a podcast and being an extra in an Al Pacino movie – things I never even thought about growing up, much less envisioned becoming a reality – that have also happened in the last couple of years.
There are still bad days and low points, they’re just fewer and much farther apart than they used to be.
I told myself in late December that I was going to make 2018 the best year possible; that I was going to do things that made me happy and go after things I wanted. So far, the new year has been everything I could have wanted and more.
I’m as active as I’ve ever been. I’ve been working harder, physically, than ever towards something that is completely new to me but immensely fulfilling. I’m making small-picture sacrifices for big-picture happiness, and I don’t regret it for a second.
I have friends that I can call to talk about anything to and who know they can call me to talk about anything that is on their mind. I have family that I love more than anything. I have weekly Sunday Dinners with my father and his family, and I get to see my mother and stepfather more often now that they live closer. My brother and I talk more than we ever have.
I also have the love of a beautiful girl who makes me happier than I’ve ever been in my life; someone who is smarter than I’ll ever be, who supports my dreams, who my family adores, who has already made positive changes to my life, and who is hell-bent on changing my diet.
She is truly the best thing that has ever happened to me.
Does it suck that my 20’s are coming to an end? Of course it does. Nobody really likes getting older (with the exception of 20-year-olds), but at least they are ending on a high note. I’m 29, and I am just now starting to live my best life.
I’m not worried about what the past could have been like; I’m too busy focusing on what the future will be like, and I can’t wait to see it unfold.