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This Journey Called Life

Looking at the issue date of my nearly expired driver’s license last week put bookends on four very transitioning years of my life.

As I sat in the driver’s license center awaiting my turn to awkwardly smile for a photo that will be with me for four years, I thought about what life has been like since I last stepped into that facility, and it made me wonder what might be in store for the future.

In 2008, I was turning 25, had just gone full time at the job of my dreams, was in the city I love most and surrounded by people (and pets) I love most. I had met a few new folks and hoped some of those budding relationships would turn into great friendships.

From watching friends marry, to seeing others divorce, and celebrating births and mourning deaths, the last four years of my life really mimic the best television drama story lines. Though, everybody can say that about their own life, I’m sure.

I struggled then to find friends and regain a social life that had been full of activity in the previous city I lived. Some friendships here grew from random socializing to brotherhoods. Others looked promising but fizzled out.

I watched as a new-at-the-time friend struggled with the end of a long relationship. Funny thing is, without his relationship woes, we’d never have crossed paths and become close pals.

Many folks have said turning 29 was difficult for them. Either they had lofty hopes and dreams that were shattered or their life just hadn’t gotten the kickstart they thought they’d have by the end of nearly three decades.

Without sounding too cliché, I tried to stop caring about my age when I turned 25 — after all, age is just a number. I don’t want to be caught up in wishing certain things were checked off on some standard living list.

I’m not in a hurry to marry, have kids or do anything that so many people seem to think you must do as you age. So many friends have checked off marriage, kids, buying homes, finding what they thought were great careers far from home, and so many of them are unhappy.

They wonder where they went wrong. Others have enjoyed the changes they’ve made.

But I’m not one to care about making sure I have my own home by a certain age or car seats in the back of a family-size vehicle.

It goes without saying that life is full of changes — simple things like adjusting your daily commute to include regular stops at convenience stores, to more drastic changes like moving to new cities.

As I prepare for the year-long descent to turning 30, I am doing so in yet another transitional phase that likely doesn’t involve anything similar to what I was going through turning 25.

I am realizing how important people and life are, and how I don’t need anything more in my life than what I have —  wonderful career with so much to offer, great friends at home, family close by and a plethora of opportunities.

I don’t need lofty career goals, kids in tow and a mortgage to prove that my life is successful. That is the biggest thing I’ve learned since last having my driver’s license renewed.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m sure there are birthday candles to blow out somewhere.

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