Just another reason to make a wish

It’s the eve of my 26th birthday and it is by far the least excited I have been yet to turn another year older. This year is a big one for me. 25 seemed like a milestone, and passing the quarter-century point is something of a feat in adulting. This is the birthday the government gives us newly turned 26-year-olds the stiff-armed pushed into adulthood. This is the year they say “hopefully you have your shit together, we know your joints are starting to hurt more than they did in your early 20’s, your hangovers only seem to be getting worse, and gray is now part of the color spectrum on your head, but even so, you can’t mooch off your parents forever, get your own fucking health insurance.”

There are only a few circumstances that newly turned 26-year-olds find themselves in. They will breathe a sigh of relief, wake up, and roll out of bed to the job that is providing them with a health plan. Or, they will reach a little further into their pockets to pay for their own insurance. Or, they will risk it and go without. Those scenarios have been sitting on my shoulder this whole past year whispering their sweet anxieties into my ears.

The last week has felt heavy. The last month felt heavy. Hell, 25 has been a heavy year for me.

Minutes before it turned 12 am, marking my birthday—yes I paid attention— I’m trying to remember some of my recent past birthdays. Some I could remember easily, some were a bit foggy as to how I spent my day. I thought that was odd, not remembering. But, I do know that each one of them I had some type of plan that included celebrations, usually which involved drinking adult beverages and inviting friends to spend the day with me. This year is by far the tamest, and I am so ok with that.

So, it’s 12:07 am, newly 26,  and I’m flossing my teeth. Just 10 minutes earlier I was looking into the dance moves in Fortnite with my little brother.

Life as of recently has been felt nothing short of a rollercoaster ride. Specifically, the kind that takes you up and down and turns you upside down to the point where if the seatbelts malfunctioned you’d definitely find yourself catapulted out of your seat. Even so, grateful is what I feel, and there has been a growth within me that I am proud of.

As daunting as 26 has been, I do feel a lightness that is unexpected and welcoming. 25 was challenging and this next year maybe even more so, but it provides some changes that I have been desperately grasping for. I’m not sure how long this lightness will last for, I’m only one hour into being 26, but I’m going to fly with it as long as the magic carpet will let me.

I don’t want to say that I’m ditching all that has been, but, really, yeah, I kinda am.

 

Insert cheesy “happy 1st of the month” line here

Chugging. I’ve been chugging. And not the fun stuff either. No, I’ve been binge drinking the fruit punch flavors of the month. Last month was “crunch time”, aka, working my life away. Which, unfortunately hasn’t proven to show its worthiness. The month before last the flavor was “positivity,” because shit, I needed a lot of that after the month before that was “emotional.” Good news though, the flavors do seem to be getting better. I started off with grape, and this next month is looking like a solid cherry.

It’s like that bright green button that’s been off in the distance, flashing, taunting me, is finally in arms reach for me to smash my fist into. The restart button. Oh buddy, I’ve been wanting to push it. Honestly, the only other thing that could satisfy me to the same extent would be peeling like 1000 plastic screen protectors off new appliances.

To restart. It sounds easy, but I’m guessing, ok preparing for, something resembling maybe Hell. Ok, so obviously not quite Hell. Restart does has a very positive outlook and feeling to it…But if I shoot low, I can only be pleasantly surprised, right?

For real though, putting aside the fact the I quite literally mess with my own mind as a defense mechanism, a restart is exactly what I’m looking for. Which is funny because knowing something, hell anything that I want, is a feat similar to my last journey across the desert, which never happened…case and point. Restarting is going to be hard, and there’s no easy way around it.

I have a tendency to try to look into my future, play out scenarios, imagine and expect certain things. But that tendency has given birth to a whole new level of anxiety and disappointment, so I’m thinking for this restart it is going to be best to just go with the flow. Like really, I’m going to jump on my inner tube, let my ass sit in the water, and float down the unknown river. Mind you, I’ll have a big stick to steer and poke away stranger dangers, but floating is what I’ll be doing. Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t have goals or wants for this restart, because I got a hella lot, but it does mean that I’m going to surrender the parts of myself that have been afraid and unsure. Looking back, everything that I have truly cherished has been unplanned, so there’s no use in worrying and trying to be my own fortune teller. What I’ve done is guide myself in a direction, following my heart if you will. Corny and cliche as some of my beliefs, life has a way of working out. The shit you go through makes you something—at first maybe mad or sad, but then maybe strong.

You can’t go into a restart and think it’s going to be like Willie Wonka’s edible park. That’s when one of those “life lessons” hits ya square in the vagina, rain starts pouring, and “giving it time” makes you want to vomit in your mouth.

I’m choosing to restart. And it’s going to stem from a foundation of simplicity. I’m being positive. I’m being optimistic. I’m being ambitious. I’m being aware of my past, and enjoying my present. Knowing what I want doesn’t have to be a one word answer. For me what I want is a picture, you know because a picture is worth 1000 words. And I’m ok with the complexity of my happiness and the complicated definition of Emily Sage Pineda, because truthfully I never want to be fully defined. I like to wiggle.

Travel guide to homelessness and happiness

Today I starred a bunch of big girl jobs on Craigslist. Jobs that seemed interesting enough that dealt with marketing/pr—things around my degree, jobs that come with security—401k, health insurance, a salary. Because jobs like this is what I’m being told I should take. Being told by society, my student loans looming over my head, my family, the voice inside my head when I think about my future, my money problems, and my adulating self. I found myself getting exciting, saying “hmm that could be cool, I could do that.” More times than that though I did find myself thinking I’m not qualified enough for that one, or I would never get past the first round of the interview process. So, I moved on, I moved through, job after job, not starring anything lower than $15/hour.

But then I starting thinking of something else, like my brain usually does when forced to focus on a particular task. Damn.

I slowly, but quickly, started realizing that maybe these types of jobs are what I don’t want, shouldn’t have right now. I am in a place in my life where I feel pretty lost, wandering in a familiar path, looking for something that can prove itself as new to me. Thinking, if I land one of these security jobs, what happens when I realize years down the road that I took the job too soon. I fell into a life that I swore I wouldn’t ever stumble into, because of well, health care.

I found myself saying “shit this job wants me to commit to a 2 year program, NEXT!” I cannot, in every cell in my body, commit to something for over a year at the moment. Love is the only thing I can see as an exception. I simply am just too goddam unsure, ok, more like scared that I’m going to make the wrong decision and send my life into a direction of tripping in puddles and looking up to see that I am nowhere near anything familiar. Hell, when the gym guy was signing me up for my membership and asked me if I want a lower-priced committed plan vs a higher monthly priced non committed plan I pretty much screamed OH I DO NOT WANT COMMITMENT.

I know that right now, in my 25 year old self, body, and soul that I aggressively am against putting myself into anything that I am not passionate about. Yes, I know I need to start setting myself up for the future, and I know that can be seen as an incredibly selfish and naive statement, but if I am setting myself up in a way that will actually put me 5 years back when I’m 30, is it worth it? Because I know myself. I know that I can’t allow myself to settle and feel ok about it. Is it worth always wondering if I could be doing something I actually enjoy, something I made for myself because of the giant risks I took in my 20’s? If I put myself in a position right now of setting my creative 20’s life away, where will that put myself in the future? Is now the time when I need to be taking foolish jobs, wandering even more, falling in love even more, feeling even more scared, and jumping into some not so lucrative creative things?

Recently a coworker was just talking about how almost everybody out of college gets a job that pays over a 30K salary—not sure how valid that point is— and it got me to thinking that, damn, I really don’t want to be in a category of people that go into the fucking “job market.” Right now, I don’t want to picture myself saying, “yeah I never saw myself marketing ceiling fans, but damn I’m sure good at it and its makes me a make a hefty salary.” No, right now I want to picture myself standing strong on my own in my own art studio in painted overalls sipping on tea while a soft jazz number plays in the background. I want to see myself as someone who made her own path. Made something of HERSELF. I don’t want to market SHIT. I want to find a passion, run with it, and be proud of it because it is a part of me. Ceiling fans will never be apart of me. I don’t care how good I could be at it, I don’t even want to imagine myself in that god awful position no matter how good looking that salary looks. Label me crazy. Hell, I sure feel like it. I think it’s an inner battle that I’ve been having with myself for awhile now. I just haven’t realized it. I know what I should do, aka get a security job. And I also know what I want to do/should also do because it’s something I want. And I sure know, I do what I want.

Listen,

I’m not sure what kind of decisions I’ll make, nor what I’ll base them off of. I do know I’m nervous, and I also know deep down that whatever decisions I make will be the right ones, because life has a way of working itself out. I truly believe that. It’s all perspective.