Things I Wonder at 31: A List.

I wonder a lot about selfishness, self-fullness, and self-understanding.

Sometimes I feel crippled with love and empathy for strangers. Like this bartender last week who was new on the job and didn’t know how to make the over-priced, special-edition, fancy-ass old fashioned I asked for. He was getting in the way of everyone else and drowning in nervousness and I just wanted to save him. And change my drink order.

I don’t want anyone in this world to feel lonely. And then an hour later I want nothing more than to be left alone.

Lately I wonder why I didn’t appreciate the massive garden I had at my disposal from the ages of 0 to 11. I recall tulips, mint, an umbrella tree, and daffodils. If only I could go back, my 31-year-old self would never leave that backyard. I would ask so many questions. I would take so many pictures.

My Dad always had us looking for the first signs of spring. Sure I got excited as an 8-year-old but not really compared to how I react now when I see a baby leaf or an orange tree.

I spent last Saturday night making homemade energy balls.

I spent this Friday night at yoga.

What is happening?

I sometimes think about how I’ll never get to live under the same roof as my parents and my siblings again. All of us together for dinner every night. And if I think that thought for too long I get really sad.

I wonder if I’ll have a baby.

What if I don’t want a baby until it’s too late?

I wonder if I get tired more easily like everyone warned would happen, or if I’m just so much more protective of my time, knowing that some dingy bar with overpriced drinks is not where happiness resides. (But sometimes it definitely is.) Is it just that different things energize me now? I’d rather see the ocean at 7AM than a dance floor at 1AM. I want to sip bourbon and draw every night, like how I used to love sipping a coffee and writing all morning. Some days the big city life is losing its sparkle. Other days it makes me feel alive.

I feel things changing, and wonder if I am a cliche.

I wonder if anyone else feels the sting of nostalgia looking through old photographs of not very long ago, and then imagines what this activity will feel like 30 years from now. I don’t think I could handle the swell of emotions I imagine will be circling inside my chest.

I wonder why I’ve been so lucky.

I look at my resume and feel excited, and then I look at my bank account and feel despair.

I miss the sound of the garage door opening knowing my Mom was arriving home. I miss the knocks on my bedroom door.

I miss seeing my best friend every day at school and then every day after school and all weekend long. I miss early 2000’s hip-hop and my first car.

I miss letting my other best friend into my apartment years later, watching her put a glass bottle hidden in a brown paper bag on my kitchen counter. I miss my friends navigating my kitchen like it was their own because they were over all the time.

At 31 I wonder if it’s strange to miss all these seasons of my life while at other times I feel like I’ve just begun.

I think about what my parents must have been like in their twenties and wish so much that I could remember. I think about my parents in a completely different way altogether. I worry about them. I wish I could stop us all from aging. I curse myself for not paying more attention to all the time we had together, just like how I curse myself for not noticing the plants in that garden.

I recognize that who I am is somehow both evolving and remaining very much the same.

I wonder if all this self-understanding is getting me somewhere.

There’s more but it’s 8:32pm and I’m 31 – so goodnight.