Tuesday, December 23, 2008

what nobody tells you.

Sunday afternoon, I was headed to Lowe’s with my father with strict instructions from my mother to pick out a new floor for mine and Chet’s bathroom, despite the fact that I don’t live there anymore and Chet is on his way out the door (we all have our ways of coping, I guess).

As I rode along with Dad, I couldn’t help but think what a crazy year it’s been.

This time last year (almost to the day), I was doing this:

I’d just finished the internship of my dreams, something I had worked long and hard to achieve. I had no idea what was next, and although I was nervous, I was also excited at all the unknown possibilities.

2008, as I told a dear friend, was going to be my quiet year, time to spend together, just me and God. I was going to “figure things out,” clear my head, find myself, and all that jazz.

Then Jordan proposed, and that ring I now wear quite literally turned my world upside down. Please don’t misunderstand: I am so very, very glad Jordan asked me to marry him. I love hanging out with my best friend, spending time together. I love that us being married eliminates one of the great unknowns that comes with being in your 20s. In short, I love the married life.

But may I just say that being married also changes things. It brings the far-off notion of adulthood right smack in front of your face. It makes you remember childhood Christmas traditions and winter breaks and realize… that was it. It’s over.

I love the new life Jordan and I are creating together. But I also am missing the life that slowly is becoming a memory.

I know I’m lucky. Right now, I kind of have the best of both worlds. Last night I made cookies with my aunt and cousins (a tradition that goes back 20 years). And the night before, Jordan and I sat, admiring our Christmas tree and watching Miracle on 34th Street in our cozy little apartment. I’m getting to enjoy old traditions and establish new ones.

But it all still feels a little bittersweet to me. Maybe it’s because the cookie-baking tradition seems to be fading (you know, since I’m 22 and my cousins are 15 and 12). It’s not quite the same as it was years ago. But I wish it was. I think it may be the eldest child in me. I’ve always kind of pushed to maintain family traditions. Case in point: I made Chet and I get our picture taken putting out cookies for Santa last year, despite the fact that we’re both in our 20s.

As a result of all this, I’m kind of hesitant about Christmas Eve, when Jordan and I will leave my grandmother’s annual Christmas party and my parents and Chet will travel the other direction. Will Chet put out cookies for Santa? (I’m guessing no.) Will Dad still read “The Night Before Christmas”? Who will kiss Dad’s other cheek, as per family ritual?

Life is changing, and I’m trying to keep up. Really, I am.

I know Jordan and I need to establish our own Christmas Eve tradition, but part of me just wishes he’d help me and Chet put out cookies at my parents’ house this year. That Dad could read the Christmas story to all three of us this year. I guess I’m just not quite ready to give it all up just yet.

No one told me that life changes so fast, and that the bittersweet-ness of it all can make you cry in your office cubicle on the eve of Christmas Eve.

This is the stuff people should warn you about. You know, that life changes fast, and even at 22, you sometimes just have to try and keep up.


jenna said...

Listen to song: Stop This Train by John Mayer.

Bittersweet: 1) a word I have used more than ever in the past year and a half. 2) a word that has made me, too, cry in my office a couple of times. 3) a word that, when referencing times in life, has a certain unique beauty that is hard to put into words...

Advice for these times:

Annie said...

Oh Jenna... I love you! This song says EXACTLY what I mean. Who knew John Mayer and I had so much in common! :)

Thank you for your encouragement. My brother said I sounded "whiny" in this post, but I promise I didn't mean to! These are the thoughts floating inside my head today... I'm glad you've had similar ones. This life is a crazy thing, isn't it?

I hope you're having a wonderful Christmas break! (If you haven't already, check out today's post on The Apron Stage: http://theapronstage.com/2008/12/23/the-last-child/)

Love you!

jenna said...

Yeah, that song may be one of my favorites. Amelia and Michael Cortez and I have had several conversations involving the meaning of that song in our lives. I'm glad you find it as perfectly descriptive of the way life feels as I do!

And yes, life is way crazy.

And yes, I have already read The Apron Stage article. (LOVE that blog. Did you notice that Sarah commented on our blog too! The same one Naomi wrote on!)

Have a very magically merry Christmas as you and Jordan enjoy the very beginning of a new set of memories and traditions.

Guess what-- Girls Retreat will be here before we know it!! You will get to visit me!!! We should start looking at airline prices after the New Year! :)