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Could you retire at 38? After I read this blog post, I grabbed my Magic 8 Ball.  And the answer is, Reply hazy, try again. 😦 But, Yes, in my imaginary world. Sadly, that world hasn’t become a reality. The Powerball isn’t rolling my way, my bank account hasn’t afforded me a private island yet and I sit in a cube five days a week. I’m knee/hip/chest?-deep in a mortgage, car payment, credit card bills and two felines. It’s sooooo American of me, right?

But, then I hear a story like Billy and Akaisha’s. Or Amy Vanderhoof’s. Or Shayne and Shannon McIntyre’s. I admit, Jealous Jackie comes out. But, Inspired Irene triumphs. I ‘m amazed, hopeful. I mean, for real, Shayne and Shannon travel the world with a bag of surfboards and two kids.

Although it doesn’t look like I’ll be retiring at 38, the dream is alive and kicking me in the ass. If it were just the thought that counted – and not the money – then it’d be possible. Because I think about it everyday. Am I the only 30-year-old (whoa, I just typed 30!) that does research on island life, sailing, raising my 2 cats and a kid (maybe on that kid part; haven’t really figured that life aspect out yet) sans Facebook, iPhone and a 24/7 media barrage? I can’t wait to get out of debt, but it’s not in hopes of buying a Range Rover or upgrading to a platinum wedding ring. (Don’t get me wrong, I would looooove a platinum upgrade!) Instead, I’m opting for a way to retire … get out of the rat race … stop climbing stuff … I mean, what’s not to love about wanting a life that includes making margaritas at 2pm (WARNING: This activity can be dangerous!) and playing eye-spy the clouds at the beach. It’s all I’m asking for … is that too much? Come on, who’s coming with me!!??

Maybe there are more people my age that can imagine life without social media and smart phones? Maybe there aren’t. Maybe I’m loco. Maybe I love rice and beans, the smell of coconuts and the sight of a solid tan line against clear blue waters too much. Now, if I could just learn to like seafood …

Until then, though, I’m content with my debt and semi-private, 30-year financed CBS island with a hammock and a hottie 🙂

It’s almost here.  I can hear it knocking at the door.  For a few more days, though, 30 will have to wait outside.  I feel compelled to throw up some sort of something upon turning 30.  I mean, if Hallmark thinks it’s a milestone birthday – it must be, right?!  Corporation or no corporation, I guess it’s mildly remarkable to have survived three decades.  No amount of sodium or high fructose corn syrup can keep me down!  I’m a robot.  Beep-beep.

To be honest, I’m embracing it.  I’m totally OK with the idea that I don’t need to sleep until noon to be rested.  I’ve accepted the decreasing percentage on the chance of me going out drinking on a Tuesday.  I’m not worried about getting my ID taken from me by a bouncer.  I don’t cry when I don’t pick up the latest album on the day it drops.  I’m OK with listening to house music without being next to the speaker.  These are all good things.  I think.

Not even close to 30: I have to endure Olan Mills photo shoots and a bowl cut.

Almost 30: I’ve learned that I love to travel and will hike to elevations of 5,000+ feet to get a great view.

But I don’t want to think that turning 30 means everything from my 20s is out.  I think I still have some of the same ideals and spirit of my younger self.  Maybe even more refined ideals and greater spirit exist today?  Perhaps.  My bucket list of life continues to grow.  For every one thing I get to cross off, I’ve already added 10 more.  That’s the great thing about getting older – you realize there is MORE.  Sure, more bullshit and bad haircuts, but also more awesome views just around the corner.

It’s funny how life works.  It’s funny how society thinks our life should work.  I read a column by Lisa Kogan, where she decided to jump back into childhood by dropping by a Daisy meeting.  (For those without kids or Girl Scout knowledge outside of Thin Mints and Samoas, a Daisy is the first step in Girl Scout-hood.)  It got me thinking, why are we constantly trying to one up – a Daisy isn’t enough?  You have to aim for making it to a Brownie, then a Junior, a Cadette, a Senior … then an Ambassador!?  (No, I did not know all that off the top of my head.)

When I was in elementary school, I went to a Girl Scout meeting (Daisy?  Brownie?  I don’t know!).  It was held at our neighborhood park’s rec center (maybe?) and there were a handful of girls (at least?).  I don’t remember details, but I can’t say I walked away excited and full of camaraderie (or badges, for that matter).  I did make it to a second (or third?) meeting, and that’s when the Troop Leader asked me what size I needed for my uniform.  I replied something along the lines of, “My parents can’t afford to get me a uniform, so I can’t join.”  This, of course, was a total lie, but at that wee single-digit age, I already knew I didn’t want to be uniformed and forced into a group making wire hanger art and selling cookies.

Little did I know that joining groups and climbing the proverbial ladder is what life is all about.  There’s the corporate ladder; the social ladder; the economic ladder; the relationship ladder.  I’m not saying these are all bad, but it sure must make for being a little tiresome.  You make $10/hour, but you want to make $10k.  When you make $10k, you want the job that pays $20k.  You’ve hit that, but now you’re pissed because they just opened a $30k opportunity.  Or, you’re single and you want to be engaged.  Once you’re engaged, it’s a rush to be married.  The ladders are everywhere; we’re a bunch of rats chasing an endless supply of mice.  Not that the hunt isn’t always fun, but … it makes me wonder, are we ever content with our life?

It’s 2010.  The 21st Century.  We have movies in 3D.  We have machines that tell us how to find the nearest Target and get there, with or without using toll roads.  We make sure the family picture on the wall is level with our cell phones.  So, I wonder why the fact that today’s women are educated and successful and independent is making headlines.

Yes, some of us make more money than our male counterparts.  This report is semi-old news by now, but I still feel compelled to comment, well, because I can. 

You think Stedman is really bothered by the fact that Oprah, well, banks!?  As he shuffles between his Chicago penthouse and Santa Barbara home, I highly doubt he’s pissed that his woman makes more than  him.

And true that, some of us leave our cheating husbands.

You think Jenny Sanford is sticking around while her soon-to-be ex thinks of another crazy lie.  Sorry, I missed dinner every night this week, I was observing polar bears in Antartica.  And I’m so glad Elizabeth Edwards is separating from her political, cheating hubby.  I’m all for love, but not in the name of self-sacrifice. 

Why is this such news to people?  Women go to college, women have babies, women climb ladders, women are comfortable being single and eating dinner alone, women are comfortable being married and cooking dinner for two.  Is this news?  Apparently it is.  But why?  Ok, ok, sure there are cultural reasons, religious reasons, plain ol’ ignorance.  But really?  

In the end, though, it’s not really anybody’s business — but those involved.  My friend, Bones, told me, there are always three sides to every story: yours, theirs, and the truth.  Ain’t that the truth!?  I always keep this in mind.  Nevertheless, love is supposed to make you better; not rip a piece of your soul out and either hide it in a 1×1 box or smash it on the ground.

Soapbox removed, thank you 🙂

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