A Quarter Century

Hello, and welcome to my twenty-fifth year of life.

Pardon the mess; I haven't had much time to prepare for this.

Okay, fine, I didn't prepare at all. I haven't had time to prepare, all right? I've been busy with life, and living it. All of a sudden this year of what I used to think would bring some kind of epic wisdom is upon me, and I feel pretty epically wisdom-less. I'm pretty sure I had my life more figured out when I was in college (or at least I thought I did). If you would have asked me five years ago where my life would be right now, my answer probably would have included a little more money and a little more furniture, or at least some kind of straightforward game plan. Pssh, well, twenty-year-old Rachel, you little young'n, that just shows how much you knew about the world.

I'd write about how old I feel (no longer in my lower mid-twenties?! I might as well be seeking out nursing homes!), but almost all of my California friends are older than me, so I've been told I'm not allowed to talk like that. The truth is, I don't really feel that old. I do in some ways, like when I'm having a panic attack about why I'm not on a published, best-selling author yet, but most of the time I wonder if I've actually matured since the age of eighteen. It's not that I don't feel that I'm responsible or reliable, because I am, so I do. It's more the emotional aspect of adulthood that I don't feel I've gotten figured out yet. Aren't I supposed to be more confident and sure of myself and my skills? Aren't I supposed to be knocking 'em dead with my youthful beauty and vivacity? Why do I feel as though the weight of the world is pressing down on my shoulders so hard that sometimes it's easier to sit around watching videos on the computer than it is to push against that weight, stand up, and move forward to get where I want to be?

Oh, it's normal to feel like that? Whew.

I saw this little drawing the other day:

via Google+ user Jason Keath
I am at a stage where I need constant reminders like the one above to let me know that it's okay to be flailing around in my own life. Who says I have to be anywhere accomplished by the time I hit that quarter century mark? At least I'm trying. I consider that first little clump of squigglies to be college, so I figure I'm at least into the beginning of the larger squiggly clump, right? Progress.

If only life could always be portrayed through squiggles, like it was in kindergarten. Those were the days.

It was a truly fantastic birthday weekend. On my actual birthday, which was Friday, I took the written driver's test to get my California license, since my Minnesota one conveniently expired right after we moved here. It was touch and go for most of the test (I spent pretty much the entire time chuckling to myself because it was so funny that I was going to fail a test on my birthday, and I'm not even in school any more), but somehow all those years of working the test-taking system paid off, and I only got three wrong (the maximum you could answer incorrectly was four). Bam.

On Friday evening, I got to check an item off my bucket list: have a bonfire on the beach, right next to the ocean. There's only one beach in the greater Los Angeles area that allows you to have bonfires, but it's free, and they have bonfire pits already set up for you, so it worked out perfectly. We arrived without any wood, and while we waited, Toby and Nick decided they would go for a quick dip, assuming our friends would be there with the wood soon after. They weren't. Toby and Nick were cold. I laughed, dry and snug under my blanket on the sand.

The weather this weekend was incredibly reminiscent of autumn in the midwest. It seemed like it was meant to be. The universe gave me a little slice of fall, the thing I have been the most homesick for thus far, on my birthday, which happened to be the first day of fall. Wrap your mind around that. It was cloudy and chilly, and on Friday night, if I closed my eyes, the bonfire smelled like a campfire in the middle of the woods. As long as you ignored the sound of the ocean and the scent of the salty ocean air. It was a perfect marriage of my new home and my old home.

And as far as I'm concerned, a bonfire in the woods ain't got nothin' on a bonfire on the beach. This particular beach was right at the end of the LAX runways, which meant giant planes were taking off over our heads the entire time. I didn't bother trying to take any photos, because the clouds were low so most of the airplanes were invisible to us, but we'll be going back there many, many more times, so you'll be seeing some in the future.

Saturday, Toby and I headed down to Hermosa Beach to watch our friend Stafford compete in the Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball tournament.

And THEN. Then, then, then. We went to the last movie screening of the season in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, hosted by Cinespia. This week's movie was E.T.

Once again, it as completely packed. Lucky for us, we have awesome friends with hook-ups who got us almost front row seats. We got there and settled in just in time to watch Drew Barrymore get up on the stage and introduce the movie.

Awful photo, I know. I wasn't prepared! Story of my life.
She then proceeded to her seat, which was approximately ten feet in front of us. Once again, the birthday gods delivered. I can now say that I watched E.T. with Drew Barrymore. My friend Adam edited a lovely photo to show the proximity:

After the movie was over, everyone stuck around for awhile longer, and Eliza surprised me with birthday cupcakes, candles and all! A chorus of happy birthday and a delicious vegan cupcake with amazing frosting later, I was one satisfied girl.

Even Drew stuck around to celebrate (or at least that's what I'm going to tell everyone). See the girl in the purplish-grayish hoodie in the middle of the photo above, right in front of the red cooler, on the outside edge of the flash? DB.

Do I brag? Fine, then I brag. It's not every day us common folk get to watch a movie with someone who was actually in it. And I mean, it's E.T. Come on.

On that note, I used to hate E.T., mostly because when I watched it I was a little kid, and it was both terrifying and horrendously sad to me. Watching it for the first time as an adult, I found myself much better equipped to handle the heart-wrenching moments, and I found the jokes to be a lot funnier. For instance, E.T. got drunk?! How did I miss that when I was five?! It's amazing how differently I perceived that movie when I watched it all those years ago.

Thing I'm diggin' right now:

:: An open letter to Ryan Gosling

:: Notes from the twenty-something self of someone turning thirty (are you sensing a theme in my posts lately? Me too.)

:: A site where you can check your emotional baggage in for a song recommendation for a stranger, and anonymously recommend songs to those in need.  I already tried it out earlier today, during my mid-morning quarter life crisis, and I got recommendations for "Survivor" by Destiny's Child and "If I Had A Million Dollars" by the Barenaked Ladies. Awesome.

:: Illustrated missed connections from Craigslist. Beautiful and brilliant.

:: Our photo from the Cinespia photo booth at E.T.:

Happy hump day from those of us in Unemployment Land!