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Our lives are fractions of a whole.

Today I realized something that hurt my overly fragile feelings: I do not have any friends my own age.

Ok, well, I have like four, and I’m married to one of them.

I do not claim the maturity of my older friends. I have not experienced their joys and I have not seen their tragedies. I am the one they smile at knowingly. And I admire and request and need and delight in the wisdom of my older friends.

At work, I am in the unique position where I am surrounded by mentalities that are on average at least ten years older or ten years younger. And so it startles me when I stumble upon a mind that ticks like mine.

We are the twenty-somethings, the ellipsis of the economy, an intentional omission. We are forgotten. We have forgotten ourselves. We are not teenagers, and we are not the adults our parents were at our age. We take roadtrips, roll the windows down, and choke on the fresh air. We crave roads different from those we learned to drive on. To find someone sensitive who will give you a slice of their time, to find someone who will look you in the eyes, that is a blessing.

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Winging It

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I’ve never made a decision about my life thinking “What I do right here and now is going to change my life”. But those decisions did, just the same.

Marrying Jordan. Going to ASU. Being a teacher. Buying a home. Having a baby. These are obvious ones.

There are also the choices that I didn’t make that shaped me. The things I did not have control over: Moving cross-country when I was 14, or when I was 17. Going to public school. Being raised in church. Being raised at a softball field. Being sat next to the kid who talked too much about nuclear warfare in the fourth grade.

And these decisions, with their varying spots on the spectrum of control, are all good and fine. They are certainly important in their own right. But I’m starting to change the way I think about said big decisions. I’m not sure they are relevant, because I don’t think that I, or whatever force was in present control of my destiny, made up my mind at any one given second. It’s all just a blender of happenstance and how we deal with the mosaic that occurs. Big decisions only sort of matter.

Take college. When I started thinking about it, I was in the back woods of Massachusetts. Like most kids there, I figured I’d apply to a whole bunch of different schools and then figure out where I’d go from there. But then we moved to good ‘ole Arizona. Far less choices for four-year colleges (about…oh, four). And though I dared dream for a brief moment of going back east for school, finances and logic said that a full ride to a state school would need to do.

Or take Carter. Jordan and I always eventually wanted babies. This was amplified by me sneaking and reading his jr. high journal, where he’d written about having a daughter and teaching her to play the piano. Then it got complicated — meaning I was ready, and he wasn’t. Then we both were ready, and the doctor told us he thought it was a girl. So I started having piano-lesson daydreams, only to be cut short by a 12-week anatomy ultrasound that clearly displayed a male. Who will still, hopefully, if he wants to, play the piano. Someday.

Anyway, my official big decisions really only got me half the way to where I am now. Seven years after choosing to go to college in Tempe, I’m here in Phoenix. I have a degree. I met my husband at school (he stared at me funny from the back of the classroom — it was love at first sight). We changed majors together, became teachers. Adopted a dog. Bought a house. Had a son. Blogged about it.

And so, at eleven o’clock at night, I’m making the decision to go to bed. And it will affect very little, and at the same time, everything.

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Non sequitur

I woke up today in ten-minute intervals. 5:50 to 6, 6 to 6:10, 6:10 to 6:20. Living only a ten minute drive from work is really convenient, and it also makes me lazy. So when I realized how late I was, I hauled my bones out of bed, pulled an old sundress over my head, woke up baby, and we were on our way.

It was too late to turn back for warmer clothing when I saw the gray hippo clouds rolling in the sky and felt the hairs on my arms stiffen in the cool wind. Poorly played, Heather.

Wearing a sundress in rainy weather reminds me of elementary school recesses spent indoors eating sacked lunches and playing boardgames. It seemed like all of the other kids hated rainy days, but growing up in Phoenix made me love the rain. It’s one of those special sorts of once-in-a-long-time occurrences.

In high school and college, I feel like I consistently wore flip flops by accident on the days it was going to rain. I distinctly remember a horrible rainstorm that I trekked through wearing a miniskirt and slippery rubber sandals from the north side of ASU to my freshman dorm. I nearly ate it twice. People honked.

On my way out of my parents’ garage today, I spied a box of all of our old VHS tapes. Milo and Otis, Homeward Bound, Space Jam. Today would have been a perfect early summer rainy day to curl up with those old movies and a knit blanket. Instead, Jordan made spaghetti, I ran, Carter belly laughed his way through his tub, and we all agreed that the newest installment of Sixteen and Pregnant was a bore.

Just a couple of years ago, Jordan and I would come home late, one of us drunk on dollar beers and both of us carrying the night on our jeans. And we would go straight to sleep.

Anyway, it’s odd to think that all those days are forever gone. But that’s what happens when the rain hits the dry desert.

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