So...one week from today I will turn 28.
When I was about 8, I remember thinking I would NEVER be that old. Like - ever. And yet, here I am.
I'm kind of freaking out
(If this is any indication of how my birthdays are going to go in the future, make sure to stay tuned for my complete meltdown in two years. Thirty is no joke.)
Lately I've been thinking about the past, and how different the world looks now through my jaded eyes as an adult versus my completely pure perceptions as a child.
I mean, everything is so simple when you're a kid. You wake up, go to school, come home, eat dinner, watch The Cosby Show, and go to bed.
(And sometimes take a bath. If you have to.)
It's like that with every part of your life as a child.
When you're a kid, a zoo is a zoo. A park filled with adorable animals that are so happy you came to visit and smile at you through the bars that are keeping them safe.
As an adult, a zoo is a dirty place where animals are kept in captivity and sometimes not treated so nicely. They stare at you through iron bars that are essentially keeping them as prisoners.
For a kid, the supermarket is a place of bright colors where you pick out your favorite cereal, try a new ice cream and beg your mom for a Reese's Peanut Butter cup in the check-out line.
For a grown-up, the super market means money out the window for food you forget to eat and eventually throw away.
(It's also a painfully sharp reminder that you never learned to cook as well as your mother.)
So many events and places that caused excitement and utter joy for me as a kid leave me with nothing but stress and anxiousness as an adult.
When did these places and moments become so...depressing?
As another example: carnivals. Every year my elementary school had an outdoor carnival for the kids. I looked forward to it, I anticipated it, I loved it. One element of the carnival I remember distinctly was the lollipop tree.
Ya know, the giant piece of wood that resembled a tree with holes in it, and the lollipops represented the branches. The game went like this: if you pulled out a lollipop with a red mark on the bottom of the stick, you won a prize.
Was the lollipop tree really that exciting?
But when you won...OH MY GOD. It was amazing. Winning at the lollipop tree gave you bragging rights. It meant you could go up to my older sister and scream, "I won at the lollipop tree and yoouuuu didn't!"
The winning lollipop tree then probably gave me more joy than a $1,000 commission from my job would now.
If I were to win that game today, my first thoughts would be, "How many calories are in this lollipop? Can this lollipop help me pay my mortgage?"
I feel like the older I get (and I know I'm really not old by any means) the less I appreciate the little things. The things that don't amount to much on their own, but put together mean everything.
Little things like having no junk mail in the mail box this afternoon. That's a lollipop win.
Finding out my favorite mozzarella cheese is on sale. That's a lollipop win.
Knowing I'm approaching my 28th birthday happy, healthy and loved. That's a big lollipop win.
As I turn the corner toward the big, looming 3-0 that's waiting for me in less than 750 days, I am going to try and look at things differently. I will focus on being happy with my lollipop wins. I will be happy in knowing that every day there are thousands of them that I'm just not paying attention to.
And I will celebrate every single one.