Adulting is soup and I am a fork.Unknown
I had my kids fairly young (early 20s), and spent my 20s and 30s raising them. I mostly did this as a single mom, but somewhere in there, I threw in a marriage and all kinds of other adult responsibilities. I put my solo life on the backburner, and poured myself into being a working, cooking, cleaning, organizing, bleacher sitting super mom. Okay, so in all reality, I was probably more of a barely controlled chaos kind of mom, but they grew up into beautiful, intelligent, responsible adults anyway, so I did something right, dammit! I don’t actually recommend the have your kids early while you don’t have your shit together and struggle for many years method. There is a lot of bullshit that you could save yourself from if you get a career, have some kind of financial stability, etc, then have your kids. But my mom will tell you that I always preferred the long way around, so that’s what I did.
Fast forward through all of that, and you’ll currently find me in my 40s, finally out of the frozen tundra of Michigan, and soaking up life in the sunshine state. When my kids left the nest, I suddenly realized I could go where the sun shines. I could go to the places I wanted to go and do the things I wanted to do. Holy shit, I could be me again! Don’t get me wrong, I am so happy to have raised two wonderful children, but it’s me time bitches!
Some people cry about turning 40, but friends, this shit rocks. I do what I want, when I want, and how I want, and I’m still healthy enough to do it. No one is the boss of me (okay, maybe when I am at work, and I can barely contain myself there), and I only answer to a slightly psychotic, but completely adorable rescue dog (okay, maybe he IS the boss of me). I would like to say that my 40s have made me a responsible adult, but in all reality, I am mostly clinging on to the honorable mention award in adulting. It’s like being an adult, but adult lite.
When I first moved to Florida, I had a friend from Michigan who also relocated to the same area, and we became roommates. Having a roommate as an adult was a strange concept at first, but we got along great and had a lot of fun. My son put it best when he said, “I see you two living together being a lot like a college frat house, except you have some adulting skills, like doing laundry, paying bills and making coffee.” If those are the conditions of adulting, then hell yeah, we were adulting the shit out of life! I had the fun of a college student, but made enough money that I didn’t have to eat ramen noodles, and could drink top shelf liquor. I am living the college party years I didn’t really get to live when I was younger, but on a slightly more responsible scale…I said slightly.
Florida’s gulf coast has given me some of my favorite things, right down the road from my house. I have white sand beaches to relax on, saltwater and sea spray to make a mess out of my hair, and the sound of the waves to soothe my soul. The sun shines all the time. I get to sweat most days of the year, and am cold very, very few of them. Seafood is plentiful and fresh. People are friendly and smiling because they don’t live under cloud cover most of the year.
And beach bars are so much fun! I can hang out on the beach most of the day, then bring my mess of a sand and salt covered self to a bar, wearing a bikini, cover-up and flip flops, and order cold beer and people watch. I get to meet people from all over, and amuse myself with how people act when they are far away from home. I get free drinks by saving people thousands of dollars in emergency room visits by telling them what to do if they have an unfortunate meeting with a stingray. There is always live music, and the atmosphere is happy and laid back. I have perhaps left my dignity behind a time or two, but I have zero fucks to give because I was having fun, and that makes it a fun choice!
Speaking of beaches, let’s talk bikinis. I’m 40-something, and I am not a fitness model by any means. However, I am also not mistaken for a manatee who washed up on the beach. I fall somewhere comfortably in between enjoying healthy food and working out when I can, and loving craft beers and tacos. I spent several years of my married life wearing mom suits to the beach, hiding and being embarrassed and insecure about the extra pounds I had gained. Looking back at those pictures, I think, “holy shit, girl, you look like you just gave up on life with that suit”. So I found bikinis I was comfortable in, and in my own mind, I rock them. I feel confident and as usual, I give no fucks about what people think of me. There are people who look far better than me on the beach, and there are those who probably feel the way I did ten years ago. I am not necessarily where I want to be in my fitness level, but it sure feels nice to feel confident in my own skin. I wear cheeky bottoms all the time, and you can kiss my exposed ass cheek if you think I am too old or chunky to wear it.
You know what one of the cool things is about living where you can expose skin most of the year? I have some awesome ink, and I get to show it off! I waited until I was in my 30s before I got my first tattoo…a small piece on my ankle to show off my achievement of running a marathon. My ex-husband wasn’t a fan of tattoos, so after my separation and divorce I had one of my signature foot stomping, “I do what I want” toddler moments, and got 3 more within a year. Then when I moved to Florida and discovered the hospitals didn’t care if your tats were visible, I got serious about getting some bigger artwork. I found an amazing artist, let him have creative freedom, and ended up with a gorgeous half sleeve that I absolutely love! Not surprisingly, the sleeve is a story about travel, independence and change. It’s about the steps it has taken me to get where I am at, and the roads I have yet to travel. Could I end up with a job where they need to be covered again? Yeah, it’s possible. But I don’t care. Some people spend money on artwork that they only see when they sit in their living room. I take my art everywhere with me, and I love it! I intentionally buy clothes that show it off. I paid for great art, why should I not show it off?
So that’s the start of the story of my semi-adulting life. I wear bikinis, sometimes I drink too much, I get new tats when I feel like it, I hang out in beach bars, and I have a roommate. I make fun choices! I live life on my own terms and I do what makes me happy. If you are reading this and thinking, “shit, I’m jealous. I want to live where I want and do what I want,” do not give up hope. Keep focused on what you can do to build the life you want, even if it has to be down the road a bit. Love yourself and wear your bikini, even if you are still working off that extra damn ten pounds. Be silly and adventurous, and start living life. Fuck adulting, it isn’t fun; just work on that honorable mention in semi-adulting.