27 is, I think, one of the strangest ages in your life. Or at least, it seems to be for me. Wait, WAIT a minute, you say--- what's that? I haven't even TURNED 27 yet! Yes folks, right now I am 26 years old. It is May 4th, 2011, and on June 9th, 2011, I will turn 27. However, somehow I am already treating myself like I have turned 27 and for some reason, this is an incredible catalyst that seems to be hurling me over the medieval stone wall and into my early 30s as we speak.
The ovaries have a lot to do with it, I know. Us ladies get to a time in our lives (which begins at about age 25, I believe) where we can feel our eggs moving through our lady tubes faster than sand through an hourglass. "PROCREATE, PROOOOCCRRREEEAAATTTEEE!!!!!" they scream. When they're inside of your body and regulated by hormones who are triggered by chemical reactions in your brain, you can't really help but listen in some way, shape, or form. Some of us may try madly to find someone to mate with, convinced that if we haven't found someone by the time we're 30 than we've failed and then we're totally worthless. Some girls try to cover up this urge by having massive amounts of casual sex; others, like me, simply go about their lives and try to wildly deny these urges altogether as they are in sharp contradiction to what our rational minds tell us we simply have to get accomplished (by the time we're 30, of course. Then our hands and brains and tongues and ovaries all shrivel up and we are completely husbandless and useless altogether).
In addition to the body's urgency to tell you to find a mate, many of us may also experience a wild scrambling to figure out what we 'want to do with our lives', as if at 30 there will be an iron gate suddenly cutting us off from all others besides our spouse and children and shutting us out of any places other than those which we decide to call "home", and "work", and we will no longer be able to function outside of those entities at all. Socially, we feel we will not be accepted unless we have places to nest and to recognize ourselves by. I'm not sure which weirds me out more- the fact that you're not supposed to have an identity BEFORE 30, or the fact that you must decide on one at that point and stick with it for the rest of your life.
Along these same lines, I'd like to discuss another thing that I find pretty strange. When I tell people about the kind of work that I have been doing, teaching ESL and traveling, 9.8 times out of ten they say to me, "that's great, do it now, while you can" (the last three words are always either "while you can" or "while you're young"). This means one of two things: either this has become the conditioned response to people discussing their travels, like "I'm fine" : "how are you?", or people actually believe this is true-which really gives more weight to my iron gate theory. I mean, nomadic cultures did/still do it. There are army brats still alive to tell the tale of their crazy childhoods. There's even spouses who (GASP) travel while the other spouse stays at home. Look; I'm not blind to the logistical and mental challenges that arise once one does decide to have a family and children, I'm only saying that it's not absolutely impossible, as everyone else seems to think (or, maybe the problem is really that they don't think because they don't really care).
Anyway, this post wasn't supposed to be about all that (haha). Really, it was supposed to tell you all about the fact that I always seem to have a hard time deciding when it should be that I will 'settle down' (see above for definition of this term), or at least go back to grad school, which would be the largest commitment to staying in one place for an extended period of time that I've had in about 8 years (with, hopefully, the exception of an overseas practicum). At this point (27, er, 26) I can see the exact outline of a project that I really want to complete, which may evolve into several other projects and requires that I go back to grad school. The problem with this is that I really have an almost constant urgency to start this project, and then another opportunity to learn something else and do something else seems to present itself that is just too COOL to pass up. Not to mention, it adds to the resume and gives me more experiences which will eventually help with said project. While I am grateful for these opportunities, sometimes they seem endless, and therefore I feel overwhelmed- as if this project is floating up in the clouds somewhere and magical unicorns are just tossing it back and forth with their spiky, luminescent horns (or maybe that's just the acid I'm on...haha...KIDDING folks, seriously. You would know if I were on acid because I would imagine I would probably be writing something like this: sittyyyy doooooahhhhhehe plsdhuf dh. fh.). I digress.
To give you an example: I recently found out about the amount of Fulbright Scholarships that are available for people who want to go teach English in a foreign country. You don't even have to be a REAL teacher, only an "English Language Assistant"! I imagine this involves eating cotton candy all day long and occasionally turning a movie on once in a while while I go check my Facebook (which is pretty much what I'm doing now anyway, minus the cotton candy). Okay, maybe not. But still, it is seriously less involved as you only teach about 20-30 literal (not teaching) hours per week, and live on a stipend given to you as part of the scholarship. So, what did I do today? I spent the entire day writing an essay on why I just HAVE to go to NORWAY to be an English Language Assistant in 2012. I hope these people can't smell bullshit, because I imagine the kind I'm puttin out there smells something like Norwegian Cod. I really just think going to Norway would be cool. I feel there is injustice in the fact that I can't just write that same line over and over again 500 times and be accepted to this wonderful program. At least it'd be original (if only slightly redundant). Harumpfh.
Well, who knows where I'll end up. Cod fishing in Norway, sewing with Peruvians, riding ponies in Iceland?? Or perhaps, even wilder, BACK IN THE U.S.
Only time will tell.
Until the next tale...