It is on this, my eve of forty, that I march feet first into a new decade. Birthday eves have rarely been joyous occasions for me. When I turned 10 I cried because I would never again be single a digit. At 12 I panicked at the thought of being a teenager. 16 was an anxiety filled nightmare: me + driving a car = unwanted responsibility. 21, designated driver because I was scared to find out what alcohol would do to my system. And 30? That was the number I feared most. 30 meant I had to be a real adult. One that loved and married someone. One who had to have babies and raise them. An adult who had to have life figured out, and college loans paid. Adults are supposed to have a house, and a husband, and kids, and a dog. Right?
On my eve of thirty, I lay in my soft feather bed, staring up at my loft ceiling and gently chanting away the fear. Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out. At the 29th breathe out, it came to me. A voice. A clear, caramel, voice singing, “Hello? Is it me your looking for?” It`s true, Lionel Richie`s iconic 1983 chart topping song, “Hello” rang loudly in my ears. I bolted up in bed and screamed, “Yes! It is me Lionel. It`s me I`m looking for!” It was at that moment that I decided that being an adult was going to be ok. I chose to believe that real adults can be whatever they want to be. They can collect stamps in passports, and go back to school to learn how to take pictures, and fall in love with accountants and artists. Being an adult meant that I would have the power to choose my path. And I did.
I don’t have babies or a husband or a house but I do have a decade packed full of living. In this decade, I have learned what makes me, me. I’ve learned who to trust and who to avoid. I’ve learned how to survive in the most dire of circumstances, and how to thrive when all seems lost. I’ve learned not to take my health for granted and to be thankful for the beautiful gift of friendship. So, on this eve of forty, I look forward to the what the next decade will bring. In the immortal words of Lionel Richie, “Oh what a feelin’ when we’re dancing on the ceiling.” Come on 40, let’s go dancing.
Eve of 30 Eve of 40
Name on passport: Andrea L Johnston Andrea L Johnston
Hair color: Brown with highlights Brown with highlights
Relationship status: Single Single
Pets: None None
Living status: Lives alone Lives alone
Career: Middle school teacher Middle school teacher
Country of residence: Greeley, CO USA Tokyo, Japan
Weight: 125 lbs. 1**lbs.
Cell phone: Nokia Razor, pink iPhone 6s, rose gold
Amazing friends: yes! yes!!!
Number of engagements: 1 1
Number of broken bones: 0 0
Number of stamps in passport: 3 103
Number of countries visited: 4 36
Number of countries lived in: 1 3
Deathly illnesses suffered: 0 2
Yoga poses mastered: 0 15
Number of college degrees: 2 3
Number of framed pieces of art: 4 18
Cameras: 0 5
Blogs: 0 3
Madonna concerts: 0 1
Airplane rides: 23 too many to count
Number of things regretted: 24 0