29: Do What Al Says [ 2004-05-20, 12:04 p.m. ]

It has been suggested to me recently that I might be a little hard on myself. The suggestion was offered while I berated myself for not being a more patient wife, not cleaning the apartment enough, not having a masters degree, not exercising, not being a supermodel-domestic-goddess-triathalete-sex-kitten, basically. For whatever reason, I have a really hard time NOT obsessing on all the ways in which I could be A Better Person. Not to say that I am a perfectionist or even all that driven; on the contrary, I�m kinda lazy and tend to sit around worrying about what I�m not doing, rather than getting off my ass and doing it (whatever It is�yoga, cleaning, writing, applying the self-tanner I bought a week ago, etc).

And if there is one thing I know, it is how utterly boring it is to listen to someone drone on and on about themselves, how even more boring and annoying, it is to hear someone complain and whine and complain some more. Well, I�m done.

I�m done saying the words, �I feel fat,� out loud, to anyone. Even if I feel fat, even if I AM fat, I will not say it anymore. Ditto on obsessing over the state of my [great, normal, healthy] relationship. I will instead ENJOY it, and stop analyzing every little thing to the point that I suffocate and kill all the romance. I�m sick of worrying about so much, so often. There are meals to be eaten and baseball games to be attended. Fun drinks to be swilled and trips to be taken.

As the Internet is well aware, Al has declared this the Summer of Fun. And as it has been declared, so it shall be. And there simply is no room in the Summer of Fun for complaints or whining.

I began welcoming the SoF on Tuesday afternoon, meeting my friend Suz for a late lunch at the Oyster Bar in Grand Central. (Aside: From now until the end of time, whenever I have friends visiting from out of town, I will take them to the Oyster Bar at Grand Central. It�s on the lower level of Grand Central, in a huge, cavernous space with Gustavino ceilings and rows and rows of old-school, cafeteria-style counters. You enter from the actual terminal at Grand Central, which is a must-see all on its own. This place is Old New York like Yankee Stadium, 21, the Staten Island Ferry and Bergdorf are Old New York. It�s kind of run-down and shabby - but in a good way - with a saloon attached, and you can sit at the bar and eat fabulous seafood or have great diner-style food at the tables. It�s expensive but such a great New York experience that I DEMAND you all go there!) Suz and I ate oysters and drank beer and wine, and spent literally hours at the bar. Then I drunkenly hopped back on the subway and met my friends Karen and Julie for pitchers of sangria. Yes, pitchers, plural.

Then, last night, I realized that with my upcoming birthday (May 26th) also comes�the end of my 20�s!! See, I�m turning 29 next week, so I figured what better partner for the Summer of Fun than the Year of Celebrating My Twenties? And certainly, the YoCMT needed a kick-off party of its own, right? I began pouring the white wine, and then the Pim�s, then I watched the Angel finale, then poured some more drinks. The YoCMT is monumental enough to warrant such an initiation.

I don�t feel anxious or depressed or uncomfortable about turning 30. I do have a hard time believing that I�ve only got one more year as a twenty-something. I swear that just a heartbeat ago I was 23, really. I�m not sure where the last 10 years have gone, because I still feel pretty damn close to the 15-year old who hated learning to drive stick, and the 20-year old who bailed on grad school, the 22-year old who was broke all the time, and the 25-year old who thought she was ready for marriage and kids. Seriously, where has the time gone? I am proud to be an adult, but sometimes � like when I look at the number �29� and realize it�s how old I [almost] am � I want to gather up all those years and squeeze them tight and just curl up with the memories of the past decade and say, Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Time, she flies.

Which is why I am done with the whining, complaining, obsessing, wanting, wanting, wanting. It�s the Summer of Fun, and fun shall be had. It doesn�t have to be boozy fun, doesn�t have to break records or inspire legend. The main requirement is that at night, when I lay down to fall asleep, a smile be on my face.

I remember distinctly writing a particular entry in my journal soon after graduating college: I was 21 and had just me the Guy who eventually pulled me to the East Coast (although I had no idea at the time). I was directionless, something I now think all 21-years olds should be, but that�s beside the point. I wrote in my journal a list of things I planned to accomplish before turning 30:


Climb a mountain

Write a book (um, check?, er�sort of. If NaNoWriMo counts)

See Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia (only been to Europe so far)

See all 50 states (not even close � about 20 to go)

Have a PhD

Have a dog (check)

Be in a good relationship (check, but the relationship I imagined at 21 is quite different from what I have, thank goodness)

Be comfortable with my body

Be able to tell my parents I love them

Learn to play an instrument

Be fluent in a language other than English

See a Broadway play (check, check, lots and lots of checks)

Live somewhere on the East Coast (yup)

Own a house (ha!)

Plant a garden

Volunteer on a regular basis (something I do irregularly)

Learn auto maintenance

Drive cross-country (check)

Take an art class

Compete in a triathalon

And a marathon

Live alone at some point

Paint a house

Get a tattoo (regrettably, check)

Learn to manage my hair

Be out of debt

...So you see, I have a lot to get done this year.

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