When I’m twenty-six

In the comments from yesterday’s entry (and thank you again for all the lovely wishes!) Derek asked “what would the Jen of 2004 blog about this new knocked-up, married, condo-owning Jen of today?”

Well, I don’t know what she’d blog, but I think she’d be pleased.

I never really spoke about this (because frankly, it sounds a bit nutty) but I always had a “feeling” through my early 20’s that life would really start when I was 26. I don’t know why I latched on to that number. It really seemed like 26 is still young enough to be young, but finally old enough to be taken seriously.

So my 24 year old self (which is how old I was in 2004) was mostly focused on having fun. I ended the going-nowhere relationship with my boyfriend of the past 4 years. I started down a nearly-2-year-long road of some laughably bad dates. I began and grew some amazing friendships. I ran up my credit cards and lived for not much more than the day or moment at hand and did all sorts of things that are better left offline, rattling around in the brain cells that emerged from that period unscathed.

Because I always knew that after I got my reckless youth out of my system, ultimately I did want to settle down one day. With a man, and a dog, and 2.4 kids, and maybe even a white picket fence. I never talked about it much, because while I’m certainly pleased about life so far, and my own impending offspring, I don’t really find other people’s marriages or mortgages or kids very interesting.

Back to the timeline, I turned 26 in 2006. Met Neil the following February. Got a job that really solidified my current career path the following June, just before turning 27. The rest is history.

Speaking of the job – even a year ago, I was terrified of what having kids would do to my career. I enjoy what I do and have never imagined being a Stay at Home Mom. Finally, in the past few months, I’ve started feeling much more comfortable in my role and confident that I could return after taking an extended absence. I’m under no illusion that It’s going to be easy, but it at least seems possible, which is enough for me right now.

The Jen of 2004 knew exactly where she wanted to be by now, though had no idea how she was going to get there. But we’re both pretty pleased she’s arrived.

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One thought on “When I’m twenty-six

  1. Nicole

    I can completely empathize with your fear of what will happen to your career when you have your baby. Four years ago, when I started my PhD, I simply couldn’t imagine putting my career, which I’d put so many hard years of work into, aside for a family. I knew I wanted a baby (indeed, I knew EXACTLY when I wanted a baby), but was certain I’d just have the baby and then move on with the degree and my career and all would be well. And, I guess that’s essentially what I’m doing – I went back (part time) when Adele was 3.5 months old, and have been building up my hours since then (I now work about 30 hours a week divided between some work-day hours and a lot of evenings and weekends). And, as much as I’m jealous as hell of my friends with full pay for a full year off, and I’d really like to be able to melt into my couch after Adele goes to bed at night instead of rushing through dinner so that I can go hack away at my latest manuscript, it’s okay. It’s really hard sometimes, but it’s okay. My point is that it’s possible to have multiple priorities. But, be warned: the priorities WILL shift and it’s completely beyond your control. NOTHING comes before Adele. Whatever you felt was important before – money, career success, stylish clothes (or any clothes that fit other than stretched out old yoga pants that you wore for the better part of your pregnancy), a decent hair cut, a night out with friends, sleep… all of that will immediately step aside because suddenly you realize that your sole purpose in life – at least for the next several years – is to be a great mom to that baby. All of the other stuff is just fluff. Enjoy!

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