Forever 29 - Uncover Ostomy
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Forever 29

One year older, one year closer to death, amiright?

Don’t worry, I’m joking. 

I just can’t believe how fast time has flown by, especially today as I celebrate my 29th birthday.

This time of year is always weird for me because a lot of things in my life have happened all around this time of the year.

10 years, ago my grandmother passed away on August 28th.

2 years ago, I got married on August 27th.

9 years ago, my dad passed away on August 30th.

And every Sept 3rd, I get to pretend I’m special.

Realizing that I’m almost out of my 20s has been overwhelming for me. Every birthday over the past few years have been less and less exciting, but this year, I’m realizing just what being an adult and getting older really means.

If you had asked 16 year-old me what I would want out of my life before I was 30, I would have had some really clear answers:

  1. I want to be in love
  2. I want to be healthy
  3. I want to be doing my dream job
  4. I want to be happy

 

On the surface, it looks like I’ve accomplished all that. I’m married to a wonderful man, my Crohn’s Disease is in remission, and I own an ever-growing digital marketing agency, and I never really feel sad. Honestly, if 16 year-old me could have looked into a crystal ball and seen my life now, she would have been beside herself in happiness.

Then why doesn’t it feel that way now that I’m here?

Let’s start with number 1: being in love.

I am blissfully happy in my marriage and the more time and life I get to live with Matt, the more amazing it gets. He is the greatest guy I could ever have the literal luck to have met and I still can’t understand why he sticks around.

Ok so why doesn’t it feel quite right? Well, this might sound crazy (ok, it’s definitely crazy), but as I celebrate another birthday with him – this makes my 5th – I can’t help but think about how I’ve just checked another year off the list of years we’ll get to spend together. As in, we only have 45 more years before we’re dead! 

I’M A REALIST, OK?

In all honestly, I’m completely in love and super happy and this is just me being dramatic.

I’m more concerned about numbers 2, 3, and 4.

Let’s talk about number 2 for a second: being healthy. 

For those who follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen how horrible my skin has been lately thanks to my terrible immune system mixed with my Crohn’s Disease. It’s been so horrible to the point that I’ve actually had to get a bad skin mass (cyst?) removed from my eyebrow. Yes, I have stitches in my eyebrow in the photo on this blog… UGH GROSS, I know.

The best part is that the doctors (there have been multiple) can’t actually tell me what’s going on or how to fix it, so they have just been giving me prescriptions for $20 tiny tubes of cream to rub all over my body for “preventative measures,” AKA they are 0.00% effective.

Since the skin is the largest organ in the body, having skin issues is really affecting my overall sense of health. I feel icky, I feel ugly, and I am honestly worried about how much worse it can get. As I age, the body is less able to heal so any issue that comes my way, honestly, frightens me. What’s next?!

At 29 years-old, though, my Crohn’s Disease is in remission and I couldn’t be more thankful for that. My stomach doesn’t hurt, I can go out and do what I want, and I can eat! (I still have restrictions, but it’s better than being on only IV nutrition.)

Ok, so I mean, I guess I can’t complain about that.

Ok, let’s move to number 3: working my dream job.

By this time in my life I hoped I’d be working my dream job as a working actor.

Well, if you’ve seen the latest buzz about what it’s like to be an actor, then you’ve heard about Geoffrey Owens, from the Cosby Show, who also has to work at Trader Joe’s to pay the bills. Being a “working actor” really means getting paid to act in anything, which is different from a professional actor and that’s something about 100+ people actually get to say they do. The rest of us need those side hustles.

By that definition and the fact that I’ve been paid to be in a lot of cool things like TV shows and commercials, I guess that does make me an actor. I’m still not a professional actor, but at least I’m doing what I love.

I guess I also have to admit that I’m pretty damn lucky that, when I’m not acting, I get to run my own digital marketing agency. Not a lot of people can say that! My business has been growing exponentially since I started it 3 years ago thanks to the BEST team and I wake up every day excited to make my clients happy.

So I guess I am sort of working my dream job(s).

Ok, number 4: being happy. 

I’ve made it my mission over the past little bit, but especially this year, to do whatever I need to do to be happy. I’ve lived enough unhappiness in my childhood and in my relationships that I’m over it.

You may have read the blog post I wrote a little while ago about feelings of suicide, and that blog post came from a place of trying to find my happiness.

My brother had been treating me in a way that was reminiscent of my childhood, so I decided to get rid of that source of unhappiness – something I couldn’t do as a kid – and cut him out of my life.

Of course, that whole situation blew up because, as with any adult decision, there are adult consequences. The blog post forced me to have a tough conversation with my mom about our past, (which I never had discussed before, and never had planned on discussing at all) and it almost ended our relationship. It made things even worse with my brother.

All of that, of course, didn’t end up making me any happier, so I made another adult decision and decided to face things heads on.

After having a bunch of uncomfortable conversations and actually addressing the past, my mother and I were able to put things behind us. After all, you can’t change what’s already happened.

As well, yesterday, my brother decided to be the bigger (wo)man and apologize for the way he treated me. We agreed to let things go back to normal when he returns from the 6-month adventure around the world that he’s on.

Through all this, I realized that happiness just doesn’t happen, but it has to be worked towards. In this case, the pain from my childhood had always been lurking and, while I tried to ignore it in the hopes of being happy, it wasn’t until I addressed it that I truly put it behind me. I had to push past the the pain and deal with the situation to reach the happiness.

I had some big dreams as 16-year old.

I know I still do.

I do want to make the most out of my marriage and enjoy every single moment I have with Matt.

I am healthy enough to eat, exercise, go out with my friends, and am relatively pain-free. I may not be 100% healthy, and it may not last forever, but I have to focus on the now, which is pretty damn good.

I do still want to be a professional actor and maybe, someday, that might happen, but in the meantime, I’m loving just being a “working actor” and waking up every day to run my company.

And I am happy.

I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.

I have been telling my friends and family that this is the last birthday I want to celebrate because I want to be 29 forever. I told them I didn’t want to hit my 30s because I felt that I had so much left to accomplish. While I still sort of feel that way, writing this blog has transitioned that into more of the realization that everything in my life now is pretty damn great, and I want it to stay that way. So, as I get older and my past gets longer than my future, I want to cement these thoughts, ambitions, and feelings into my brain. I don’t want to forget what now is.

I want to be forever 29.

Jessica Grossman
info@uncoverostomy.org
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