Monday, May 23, 2005

So, here it is.


27 is gone, never to return. I'm not just in my late 20s - I'm in my very late 20s.

On the one hand, I'm starting to accept that I'm no longer a teenager. I feel more confident about myself than I ever did in my teens, and I feel more in control of myself and my environment.

But late, late 20s? When the hell did that happen?

I wonder - is there a point where I'll actually feel like an adult? 'Cause I really don't, right now.

27 was by far and away the best year of my life, and not just because it's 3 to the 3rd power... I've been living in New Orleans for one year now. When I moved here, I had no idea what a change to my life it would be.

I'm accepted here in a way that I never was, and never could be in Texas. It's very, very rare that people ask me if I'm gay. And if they do, they seem to accept that I'm not. Now, it's much more common for them to assume I'm arrogant. And of the two, I much, much, much prefer to be assumed arrogant.

I'm considered attractive to women now. All my life, I've been the guy who watches all the other guys get dates. I've been the "friend" who listens as the girls bitch about their asshole boyfriends, and then tell me how they need a guy like me (right before they return to their asshole boyfriends). I never got the chance to be the asshole boyfriend. I think I could've done it well, but that's another matter. Now, I can get a date anytime I want one. Admittedly, it's with tourists, so there's no chance for a relationship.

But there's a certain appeal to that, as well.

During my 27th year, I got to be in love with a girl I thought was in love with me. I got shot down, of course. This is the life of Jess Mills, after all. But still, to have had it for a little while was a gift that I had given up on long before. Of course, I've gone from being "the most important man in her life" to an occasional "how are you," and I'll give you 20 to 1 odds she's forgotten my birthday. But still, as cynical as I sound about it, I'm okay with it. The fact that it didn't work out leaves me with my freedom, which I cherish more and more every day.

This is the year I became a good singer. I'm not a great singer. But people that I really respect and admire respect me as a vocalist now. That's a change. I'm mostly a good entertainer - I put on a great show. I think of myself as a great pianist (though George Rossi, my co-worker, is a better pianist than me). But a good singer? That's new. I always put up a front of being able to sing, and I always thought that I was adequate. But I wasn't, and I sucked, and deep down, I knew it. I'm still nothing special - but I'm good. And for now, I'm cool with that. If I'm no better when I hit thirty, I'm going to be pissed.

This is the year my sister graduated college. Talk about proud - nobody from my family was expected to go to college, except possibly my brother. Well, he did, and then I did, and then Amy did... And we all did well, in different ways. David was commencement speaker at his graduation, was a legend in his math department, went on to a full ride at the Air Force Institute of Technology, where he got his Master's degree on a thesis that I can't even spell. I did pretty well in college - I didn't flunk out, and I didn't burn out. Amy got a 4.0 - which is even MORE incredible when you consider she's raising four kids, and works full-time. And she graduated during my 27th year.

This is the year that I paid off my car, and most of my credit cards. I'm behind - I was supposed to be mostly out of debt by now. But I'm paying it off rapidly, and look forward to the day when I owe no money to anybody. That way I can rack up some more!

This is the year I became the life of the party. You come to see me at Pat O'Brien's, and I can almost guarantee that you're going to have a great time. I'm not up there in a supporting role anymore. I'm not hoping for a good crowd. I make it happen. And what a privileged position that is!

This is the year I learned to let go. When I'm frustrated, but can't change things, I can let it go now. When I'm mad, but can't express it in a constructive way, I can just let it go. When I want something (or occasionally someone), but I realize that I just can't have it, I can let it go. I let go of so many things to come here, and once I was here, I had to keep letting go of things. And I've learned that it's not bad to do that. That holding on to things can be unhealthy at times.

So now, whether I wanted to or not, I've got to let go of 27.

I'm not ready for my 30s. The 20s have been so good to me. But this was such an incredible year that I can't help but be hopeful about 28. If it's half as good as 27, I'm in for a helluva ride.

Happy Birthday to me!

P.S. No, I have no idea why I'm awake at 9:00 in the morning.

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