Monday, February 8, 2016

Twenty Something

Last Thursday night I was sitting at the kitchen table eating Nutella out of the jar by the spoonful and stressing. I was taking a big science quiz, and I’d lost my internet connection. It was a one attempt kind of thing, and I was freaking out that my submission would be lost. I’d just been informed that rent was going to go up by fifty dollars a month, and my car’s “Check Engine” light had been on for two weeks.

“This is just like I thought it was going to be,” I thought. It was a sitcom scene: Rory Gilmore studies diligently while Lorelai replenishes her Nutella and probably there’s some dramatic love triangle in the background (it is a sitcom, after all). This is not to say that I felt awash with negativity. I just appreciated the quintessential “twenty-ness” of it all.

If you had access to a time machine of some sort, say, I don’t know, a TARDIS (I NEVER INTENDED TO GET DRAGGED BACK INTO THE DOCTOR WHO FANDOM BUT HERE I AM) and visited Powell High School circa 2010, you would’ve run into a socially awkward senior with really bad blonde highlights and a musical theatre obsession.

“Rebecca Waite, what do you think your life will look like at twenty-three?”
“Well, I’ll probably be married and maybe--”
“Nah, girl. Try again, but single.”
“Well, I’ll probably have graduated college, and--”
“Nah, girl. Try again, but still in school.”

Some days are pretty much what I would’ve predicted at eighteen. After finishing the test (my submission did count, thank goodness), I watched Netflix for several hours and made a Ninth Doctor/Rose playlist. I read a book and raved in my journal about how good it was.  This is the kind of social life I had in high school.

But in other ways, I am living a life more social than I ever thought I’d be. Last weekend I organized a Belgian waffle outing with five or six of my theatre friends. Bruges, in case you were wondering, has a one hundred percent approval rating in my book, and can absolutely cater my wedding. It was a joy; the ladies I've met at the theatre are simply the coolest. Snow was falling thickly and constantly, and my friend Andi and I didn’t feel like driving home in it. Instead we wandered around Barnes and Noble for a couple hours, because if you can’t go home, go to a bookstore.

This is exactly how I wanted it.

Or take this weekend. I wandered out of my room around ten thirty, intent on locating both Lucky Charms and some way out of my awkward date that night. (If you’re planning a lecture on how I shouldn’t accept dates that I’m not excited about, don’t bother. I already give it to myself all the time.) My roommate invited me to join some of the other girls of the house for brunch. Umm, yes. I am all about brunch.

Before getting brunch we talked about who we would choose to play us in the movie of our lives. I’ve been told that I look like Drew Barrymore, but my choice was immediately Felicia Day. Our appearances might not match at all, but our personalities certainly do. Anxious, prone to obsession, and geeky to the max? Umm, done. Conversations like that are what I’m about. I pulled out the book Felicia Day signed, and reminisced about meeting her. (Fan X convention is coming up next month I'm definitely going. Exactly how I would've wanted it.)

Birthday brunch with the roomies was a pleasure. Omelets, biscuits, and bacon, oh my! It’s a small thing, sitting a table in a crowded cafĂ©, laughing at Barney Fife posters, reveling in honey-butter scones, and being an accepted member of a group. It’s a small thing to take selfies before getting seated and text them to each other. It’s a small thing for someone to say, “We really like having you around, Rebecca.” Small things. Small things that matter intensely.

This is exactly how I wanted it.

After brunch I went to the Oquirrh Mountain temple with Chrissy, one of my dear friends. I’ve been going to the temple every weekend, and it delights me. High school Rebecca never planned on going through the temple before getting married, but I’m endlessly grateful that I did. That gratitude extends to the women who have gone through with me: my mother, my grandma, my best friend, my temple prep teacher, my former Relief Society president—the list goes on. What a support system!

This is exactly how I wanted it.

Driving back from the temple while blasting my Killer Solos cd (because if you can’t be onstage in real life, be onstage in your car) could also be a scene from a young adult TV show. The awkward date had been canceled by the guy, and I didn’t even have to come up with a plausible excuse. It would’ve worked great for the end of an episode.

Yesterday I took one of my best friends to dinner at my grandparents’, and then watched Inside Out at her house. (If you’re wondering if it still makes me cry the fourth time, the answer is yes.) Her roommates have dubbed me their honorary fourth roommate, who will live in the invisible cupboard under the stairs. We talked about relationships and how one day I’m going to read her kids The Hobbit and entries from my journal.

This is exactly how I wanted it.

I’ve been hunting for inspiration in the world of writing, and had started to fear that it was going to be a dry well, and all I’d write for the rest of my days were self-obsessed essays otherwise known as a blog. Then, out of nowhere, three different storylines kind of attacked me, and I haven’t been able to let go of any of them. I feel like I have a story to tell myself, and that’s delightful. If I can’t be onstage right now (that is NOT exactly how I wanted it), I can have somewhere else to mentally escape to at the end of the day.

 I knew there were would be bad days and hard times. But the strong friendships that I have in Utah constantly amaze me. When I pictured my ideal life as a single twenty-something, I hoped it would be filled with activities and theatre and dates and a varied group of friends who did stuff with me. 

Somehow I achieved all of those.

This weekend was Exactly how I thought that young adults lived their weekends: bouncing from event to event, balancing school, friends, and romance. Do you know how seldom something is Exactly how I thought it would be?

This week also featured:
-A roommate saying, “Just the person I wanted to see! I’ve been wanting to watch a movie with you all day!” Another roommate and I laughed about Harry Potter fanfiction until there were actual tears in my eyes.

-Three friends texting me this 1970s Star Wars family photo. I love being associated with things in people's  (If only we could see Ben’s light-up Darth Vader sneakers.

-Making plans to see three shows that I’m very excited for: Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder, Drowsy Chaperone (MY HEART), and Pirate Queen.

-A coworker and I had a truly epic high-five. It was resounding. We could've ended our movie on that freeze frame. 

-My friend asked me to be her maid of honor. This is a huge honor for me; no one has ever asked me to be part of their wedding party.

-My dear friend had her first baby, and followed her dream of naming him after a fictional character. That is the kind of mom I absolutely want to be.

-My cubicle mates and I have christening our section of the office the WOLF PACK. (You have to capitalize it like that.) We printed out pictures of the world's coolest wolves; they now guard our workspace.

I have a daily walk work buddy. I get to eat dinner with my grandparents every Sunday. I have plenty of people who think I'm funny, smart, and important.

Victor Hugo said it best in my favorite Les Miserables quote:
“The greatest happiness in life is the conviction that we are loved—loved for ourselves, or rather, in spite of ourselves.”

My life is not what I thought it realistically would be. It is better. And that's due to the people I am lucky enough to surround myself with. Thank you.

1 comment:

  1. Commenting again here because I just love you so much. You warm my heart :). Life usually turns out better than we planned!!