I read a quote on Instagram today from one of the many inspirational strangers I follow (@confessionsofadietition)-she never fails to please the IG eye.
“I’ve learned so much from my mistakes, I’m thinking of making a few more!”
After chuckling at its clever wit, I realized how much that statement could apply to my current life.
My 26th birthday is today. I started writing about this 2 days ago in anticipation for this day-pondering how I really felt about this birthday. And though it arrived quicker than ever, it felt like I’ve climbed Mount Everest to get here. Last year was my first birthday celebrated in California. I had only been in San Diego for 3 months by then. It was the big 25! The quarter century mark, the “I’mleagalenoughtodoanythingIwant” mark-a milestone in the birthday world. At this point in time though, it seemed more of a quarter-life crisis rather than any milestone to check off my list.
This ideal, California milestone celebration leaned more towards the likes of “OH crud, how’d I get here and where the heck am I going?!?!?” A moment of “The clock is ticking, you’re running out of time!!!” A moment of “Savings?! What Savings?!” A moment of “What have you done with your life-you are a failure!!!”
This has nothing to do with the fact that my actual 25th birthday was spent moving my older brother and his family into their new half a million dollar home. A beautiful red roof home with hardwood floors, a cute backyard patio, a massive walk-in closet that I’ll forever be envious of, and a perfect view of the neighborhood pool and jacuzzi across the street---off “my” bedroom deck. Oh. Right. I just turned 25 and am living with my brother. There’s a milestone for ya. Totally normal.
The saddest part-in this generation, it is totally normal. The LA times reported in April that “…amongst 18-29 year olds, 1.6 million Californian’s have taken up residence in their childhood bedrooms…a 33% jump since 2006…” AND THAT’S JUST IN CALIFORNIA!!!!! I’m so glad I moved just in time to be a <somewhat> part of that data! Maybe it wasn’t my parents’ house, but it sure wasn’t my own.
Trust me, I am not complaining. They are the reason I got out here in the first place. And that day was actually shared with visiting friends, lots of laughter, and I even got to pick out my own cake. But there was still a small, selfish part of me-that anyone else who is human would feel too-where I just wanted everything to focus on me. 25 is a big deal! That’s what birthdays are for, right? The one day out of the year where I can be as selfish as possible; I call the shots, I make the plans, everyone pays attention a la moi! Because as soon as 12:00am the next day hits, boom! #PumpkinStatus is in full effect and no one cares anymore.
I am not some sort of birthday-zilla nor am I telling you to act as one either. However, before moving across country to California, I decided I wanted to move in the first place for me and only me. I was in desperation for “me time”. Something I didn’t allow myself to have yet. Our 20’s are for us and I was already 4 years deep! I’m supposed to be selfish and to trial and error myself to decide who, what, when, and how I am! To find myself. I had lost track and it was time to be on my own for real. To find my true passions and desires and to live them! To step out of my little Pennsylvania comfort zone and expand my horizons. To live it up while I’m young, wild and free! I look back now and I realized I’ve forgotten most of that reasoning. Or even if I didn’t forget it, I wasn’t living up to that promise I made with myself.
I truly have had probably the toughest year yet. I thought the worst year was already tagged, but it just got replaced. A couple years back I thought I was at my lowest low after a broken heart and a triple threat of deaths. I specifically remember after finally bouncing back from that year and saying aloud to someone “I haven’t even lived yet.” What I meant by that was, if I’m at my lowest when some old [very loved and important nonetheless] people croak and a dumb boy makes a dumber decision… then I ain’t got nuttin on life!! My past and future flashed before me illustrating all the tragedies or drama or loss or struggle or frustration that could have or will happen to me and I realized how blessed my life has been. I’ve obviously read, seen, and heard stories a thousand times worse than my own with a survival outcome. So why was I needing the tragedy? It wasn’t so much the dramatic “woe is me life” I wanted-no thanks! Rather, I wanted to throw myself into the fire! I was eager to LIVE LIFE and EXPERIENCE. I don’t mean experience the terrible things of life, but if that year was only the worse I had experienced, and at the ripe old age of 23, then what was the best? Clearly the best was still yet to come.
Then…that night happened. I think it’ll sound more dramatic then the reality of it. But it is dramatic for me. This event represents the worst and best thing that could’ve happened, at this point of my life. It was a Friday in April-2 days after my 1 year Californiversary and a friend had invited me to the Padres game. This night wasn’t anything too special. I had been to a Padres game before; I was with my main girl-we were on a streak for good nights, no big deal. A fun night kept evolving into a better night where I let the social butterfly we all know and love J get the best of me; believing that I was invincible-I don’t get in trouble, I’m a good girl-why would it be any different tonight? Welp, a night spent with new friends and new eye candy quickly turned into a new record and new perspective.
New perspectives on choices, self-discipline, the night life, the law, adulthood, my life, my future, and my ignorance!
I won’t go into detail or announce this events title, as I’m sure you can maybe assume what happened next. Maybe not, and if that’s the case-then keep guessing.
It’s been almost 4 months since that regrettable night of confinement and I am still struggling. After a whole different kind struggle since moving out here where I was finally on a roll-making great monies, meeting great people, planning trips I was finally able to afford, creating achievable goals for myself, thinking about my options for the future, etc.; I once again found myself struggling financially, and now-legally, socially, and forgivingly. That night I made the biggest mistake to date. The stupidest too. I had every opportunity to avoid the situation from way before the night even began. I still can’t understand why I made that decision or why it happened to me at all. Though, I’ve learned these types of situations are out of my hands. That I’m maybe and probably not supposed to understand. It is out of my control. And that is the only truth that is getting me through. Faith.
I’ve been able to find peace with that truth the more and more time flies by. And the question of “why?” is just starting to make an appearance. My self-journey in California hasn’t even started yet! I was being a hypocrite and procrastinator this whole time. I would spend so much time praying to God that I was ready. Ready to make a change, to strengthen my will-power and discipline myself so I can begin doing what I want to do! Problem was-not only was I ignoring God or myself but I didn’t even know what I wanted!! No wonder why I couldn’t hunker down and focus.
Now that my lifestyle has been restricted in multiple ways-limited social life, limited spending, limited drinking, and even driving-the punishment has helped open up opportunities and realizations about myself I don’t know that I would’ve found if I kept going about life so passively. Multiple nights spent in, enjoyably I must add, and not out wasting money has helped me rearrange my priorities and point me in the direction to where I think I want to go.
Is the path crystal clear? Of course not. It may not be for a very long time. But in my case, restriction has created freedom. People say God works in mysterious ways. He is known to answer prayers, but doesn’t always answer them in ways we expect them. I believe my prayers of clarity and wisdom and opportunity have been answered through this event. Yea, it sucks. A lot. But God doesn’t hand us anything we can’t handle. I’ve also surprised myself with how calm and how at peace I’ve been dealing with this whole struggle. I also believe that it wasn’t coincidence but an intentional part of Gods plan to plant a full-time office job in front of me. Where I as an actor, had to choose for the first time to surrender to a ‘survival job’ (in desperation) so that I would be making a substantial money to then afford this mistake! I also received a raise within 3.5months of being hired just happened to be the same month this event took place. This was not a coincidence but a strange miracle. Now I am WAY thankful for my job and guaranteed paycheck. Otherwise-I don’t even want to think of where my life would’ve went if I was struggling for income.
Basically, a huge part of my life has been put on hold. Life as I know it. What I came out to California to ultimately do-audition, act, network, film, tv, LALA land-was all put on halt. I’ve had maybe two auditions since this incident and the stage feels like a distant memory! However, I’ve been able to explore another passion and dive into my yoga practice, meditation and my spiritual growth and realize I eventually want to guide others through all of this!
Thanks to the wise words I’ve recently found to simmer on, I’ve been able to think of this ‘halt’ as more of a delay. Not a denial. A little speed bump along the way. But this speed bump was able to paint a picture. It’s not finished yet, but there’s an outline. Finally a clear(er) outline of where I want to go in life. The life I want to create for myself. It’s like when you get out the shower and the mirror is all foggy and you try and wipe it away, but the condensation still leaves behind a wet streakiness? It’s like my ‘life image’ is still foggy from the steam of struggle. The image is still skewed. It’ll wipe away soon enough-when enough air comes sweeping through-it’ll evaporate and there will be standing a hopefully ready, willing and new Lynnia staring straight back at me, wanting only the truth saying “did you do it yet?”
I think 26 is a good year to keep wiping the fog away. I asked to be thrown into the fire, and boy was my wish answered. I wouldn’t have been strong enough had this event happen a few years ago, or even a few months ago. I honestly think that this was Gods way of shaking me out of head and saying “GO DO!” I feel I’m more mature in decision making, because my decisions are bigger and scarier so I’m forced to think differently. And the fact that I’ve been more positive, focused on personal goals, feeding my soul and not worrying about others or over some timeline that never existed in the first place has all come from one mistake. Years from now it’ll be a miniscule mistake and I’ll be thankful that it resulted in major growth. That’s what mistakes are for, right? If only we could learn these lessons without mistakes. But then we wouldn’t be able to call this Life. Do I dare make more mistakes? It’s inevitable. Hopefully they’ll be smarter mistakes. Is it possible?
So I’m celebrating today, this year and the future me. For I am not perfect nor am I asking for perfection. But to learn and grow for whatever life has to offer. I am awake now and ready for the steam to roll on through. Happy Birthday Life-I’m glad you finally showed up.