Summer doesn't end for a couple more weeks, but the Labor Day weekend marks the emotional end of summer for me, and presumably others. Carefree days are replaced by ones with greater concern for our work at hand, our obligations and deadlines, and potential *zingers* lying unbeknownst in the weeks ahead as we march into the colder months.
So why do I feel so serene?
It has nothing to do with my personal preference for fall, or the start of the hockey season (sorry fellow Sharks fans), or even that I'm away on a brief vacation in San Diego as I type this. It has to do with how I'm choosing to interpret the reality that this is the last summer of my twenties. Turning thirty hardly marks the death of youth, but it's a psychological paradigm shift for many like myself, who are obsessed with nice round numbers that we associate with transitions.
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The mental echo of my childhood self boldly predicting, "When I grow up..." hovers like a murky fog over the awareness of who I've become as an adult. What would that child say to me now? Would he be content with what he sees? Would his disappointment be visible on his face? Or would he start hyperventilating with excitement, knowing that he's going to *make it* after all?
And what does it mean to *make it*?
The adult in me, despite my vain concerns over career, money, weight, and eventual progeny, feels content and serene knowing that many of my childhood ambitions have been accomplished, even if some of them (a Porsche in the driveway of my Hawaiian mansion, ha!) remain dramatically unfulfilled.
I'm content knowing that I spent my *youth* doing what youth was meant for = taking risks, learning from mistakes, and building a modicum of character that will serve me in true *maturity*. All the travel didn't hurt, either... bank account excepted.
I'm content because I finally feel ready to turn 30, to finally leave my wanton years behind while still retaining the essence of who I am. I'm still going to take risks, but they'll be more calculated. I'm still going to have to learn from my mistakes, but (fingers crossed) the errors won't be as severe, even if the lessons are.
I'm content because I have even greater things to look forward to in this coming decade than my 19 year old self had to look forward to a decade ago.
I'm content because my childhood self grew up.