This year, in another 19 days, I will be 29. The last and final year in my twenties. And I'm surprisingly okay with that. Frankly, I think turning 26 was traumatic enough for both of them. I was all: "Oh GOD! I'm entering the downward slope of my twenties. ... I can't even say MID-twenties anymore! Now I'm just OLD!" And I spent most of the day being a complete ass and crying in a bathroom. Well, that and my boyfriend at the time was entirely self-absorbed and couldn't see that I obviously needed to him to get in the trenches with me, make me laugh, then take me out for dinner. Jer would know to do that.
But 29? Bring it. I'm probably pretty close to where I thought I'd be at 29. Well, if I had thought ahead that far. I stopped knowing for sure after college graduation. That's where it sort of gets a little blurry. There isn't any societal norm after all that education. You're sort of given a diploma and a gentle shove out the door cushioned with an emotional graduation speech that makes you feel like if you grab life by the balls, you'll end up feeling fulfilled and wealthy beyond your wildest imagination.
Then you realize you're broke, don't have a job and are forced to move back in with your parents. And stumbling around from 22 to 26 can be a bit of an adventure.
I've come a long way since those years. Not financially or in terms of maturity, but certainly in sense of self. I know who I am and, at the risk of sounding like a complete freak by switching to the third-person, I like her. And maybe I'm okay with 29 because I'm interested to see how this new number suits me. I have a feeling it will be a good fit.
Another tradition at the beginning of February is that everyone starts asking me what I want for my birthday. And unlike Christmas, where I'm so busy trying to determine what everyone else wants that I don't have time to figure out what I want, I can dedicate ample thought to possible presents. And who doesn't like thinking about presents?
This year, my list is long and all-encompassing. Homeownership will do that. So I have to get brutal and figure out if I should ask for something I want or something I need.
Well, that didn't take long. Birthdays are for splurging and indulgence. Birthdays are for wants.
But just out of curiosity, part of me wants to compile a disgustingly expensive list detailing the projects and things I have floating around in my head. I know the final price tally would be staggering. Don't get me wrong, I could get absolutely nothing for my birthday and be entirely content with what I have. I know the only things I really need in life are the two other breathing beings under this roof, my family and friends ... and maybe my computer because I love it so.
I guess what got me thinking about the cost of my wants was a recent poll I read about. Opinion Research Corp. asked homeowners how they would spend a $10,000 windfall. And I couldn't believe it, but that dollar amount, which at one point would've seemed staggering, now feels like a drop in the bucket. My house could eat $10,000 for breakfast.
So, just for fun, here is my champagne-wishes-and-caviar-dreams birthday wish list along with ball-park figures, rounded down to the reality of what I would actually be able to afford if I were actually to get any of these things:
- New gutters (flashy, I know): $2,500
- Dishwasher: $300
- Refrigerator: $400
- New kitchen countertop: $800
- Paying contractors to lay tile in the kitchen: $500
- Paint for the guestroom: $20
- New bedding for the guestroom: $100
- New curtains for the guestroom and master bedroom: $200
- Paint for the office: $20
- Furniture for the office: $500
- Backyard patio or deck: $1,500
- Removing a tree in the backyard: $800
- New lighting fixtures: $200
- New ceiling fans: $200
- 6' x 9' rug for the living room: $150
- 6' x 9' rug for the dining room: $150
- Refinishing the hardwood floors: $500
And the grand total is ... envelope please ... (opening): $8,820!
Huh. Well, hell, I guess I have to aim higher and upgrade to stainless appliances, granite countertop and fans made of pure gold melted down from rappers' teeth. No worries. Toss in a couple pairs of shoes, a professional camera with an exterior light source, a laptop, a Vista upgrade for my Dell, the video camera I want, Lasik eye surgery, professional teeth-whitening and a few new couture wardrobe pieces to replace everything I'm selling on eBay, and I'd have that $10,000 spent before my breakfast. If my house couldn't eat it entirely, I certainly could.So, in summation, I'm ready for 29. And I hope it comes with a big fat shiny envelope filled with $10 grand.