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filling in the blank.

i'm going to turn twenty-four in just over a month.

my mom said her scary-age was twenty-five.


well, it's not my scary-age. this much i know.

and yet it's the first age that causes some...trepidation.


not so young anymore. i mean, well, yes of course twenty-four is young. it's so young.

but its not young-young.

and because my life seems to have no direction, maybe that makes the number a little older. if i was twenty-four and in law school, the number would be younger.

does this make sense?

the ironic thing about this number--this age--causing any fear is that for two or three months now i've been telling people that i'm twenty-four.

its not that i'm fibbing, im just forgetting.

i keep forgetting that i'm twenty-three and keep thinking i'm twenty-four.

i'm talking in circles.

when my mom was here just before i left for australia, we were sitting in my old bedroom surrounded by boxes and mess and not a door to be found and i was relaying a friend's story.

she was working in a restaurant one night when a gentleman ever so slightly older (mid to late thirties, early forties maybe) asked her how old she was.


twenty-three? he responded. wow. nothing matters in your twenties. everything you think is important isn't. enjoy this time and the prospect of just how much time is ahead of you.

my mom listened patiently and then said, well, that's easy for a man to say.

excuse me? i somewhat screeched (the feminist in me reeling).

well, women don't have all the time in the world. it's much harder to have children when you reach a certain age.

there it was. amidst the mess, in the middle of my life in boxes, my mom was giving me the i-want-to-be-a-grandmother-some-day-speech.

and as it was happening i had a million thoughts including all those that would negate just exactly what she was saying. but the one that stuck with me was: oh, this is it, this is one of those once-in-a-life moments. like the first sex talk. or the first (and only time) you make out with a random guy standing on top of the bar counter. i now get to check this off the list.

my mom knows its gonna be a while before i come through with a wee one. but i like knowing that she wants me to have a child. i like knowing that she wants to be a grandmother--that she wants me to experience the thrill of motherhood.

there are moments in your life that age you.

i was in the what-must-have-been-400th-hour on my journey to Oz, one hour away from landing, when i pulled out the visa i'd need to present to customs.

and there it was:

regular occupation _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

with the customary blank boxes calling out for my penmanship. and an answer.

regular occupation?

for the first time in my life i couldn't pencil in "student" and i sure as hell wasn't going to put "hostess".

actor? no that's not right either. not now at least. maybe in the future.

and so i sat there, blank boxes taunting me.

i suppose that's what i want now.

an answer. a response.

i want to be twenty-four with direction.

then it might not be so scary.

_ _ _ _ W R I T E R _ _ _ _ _

that's what I put.

it was the most truthful thing i could think of.

and it may in fact be the direction i dream of.

time will tell.

and then wee ones will follow. many, many, many moons from now.


Chelsea said...

great post. i relate to you here so much. i am 24 now and will turn 25 in march. all i can hope is that there is a plan out there somehow... and that eventually we will end up where we are intended to. but know that you're not alone!

Brittany said...

mmm i love this a lot. i know how you feel and i'm only 20! why is young not so young anymore?

p.s. you ARE a writer. a really lovely one.

f8hasit said...

I like the list of firsts...

or the first (and only time) you make out with a random guy standing on top of the bar counter...


Olivia Rae said...

i think you have more insight and wisdom than most 24 year olds, even ones who have "real" occupations.

Em said...

If it's any reassurance - I loved being 24. It seemed quite a lot older before I turned it, but when I was 24, I loved it. Finally I was at the right age for me (does that make sense?). I'm 28 now, and the last few years have been pretty good too, but that feeling of being 24 was just superb. Enjoy it. :-)

Courtney said...

23 is my scary age. I'm so afraid of it. And it's coming soon.

When I was little I dreamed my life out, and there was a fairly strict timeline. According to my plan, I should've been graduated from a private university by now and teaching 4th graders to save money for my wedding. Which would happen when I'm twenty three.

So now, here I am, 22, taking a break from school, hostessing/waitressing, and boyfriendless. And the direction I want to go changes practically every week.

It's kinda scary, but at the same time, completely thrilling. Funny how the dreams you have as a kid don't always pan out.

All this to say, I feel you. Hopefully we'll find our direction soon and have an amazing adventure along the way!

Carlita said...

since we share bdays just one day apart, i feel 24 coming up as well. i still have my 25 before 25 list, and i've gotten quite a few checked off, and hope to do all of them before the big 25. we're so young, yet sometimes it doesn't feel that way. it's very strange.

J. said...

Wonderful post. I am about to turn TWENTY-SEVEN, and I am without direction. So, I feel your pain and assure you, being 24 and a little...lost... is quite alright.

Thao said...

Meg, I understand exactly what you mean. I keep thinking (and saying) I'm twenty-three because something about twenty-four just won't stick. I feel unprepared for twenty-four. But we'll find our way, that much I know. And I also know you put down the correct occupation on your Visa.

Hanako66 said...

:) you are a beautiful writer meg

24 was kind of a drag for me, but when I hit 29 this year...that was my scary age. I'm freaking out. I'm 29, have been married for 8 years. I love my job, own a home, my husband is well established at his company, we have dogs. We do not yet have children. That is what is freaking me out!

Wisdom + Understanding said...

well you definitely ARE a writer :) i'm always tempted to put something ridiculous on that line... PROFESSIONAL HAIR FLIPPER. If I get looks I give them a what-you-gotta-problem-with-that eyebrow look or say "gotta do what ya gotta do!" with a tense smile

jen said...

not trying to freak you out or anything, but 30 will be breathing down your neck before you know it...trust me. I forget that I'm not 27 all the time...no, I will be 30 within the year.

You have plenty of time...don't worry.

And, I love that you put "writer"!

Krissa said...

Oh I love this post....I can totally relate...yet I will be turning 25 come December. But 24 has been one of the best years, I learned and grew so much.
And my heart jumped when you wrote WRITER....because I think you ARE a lovely one.
Enjoy life, each second... each minute.

Morgan said...

"Writer" was the perfect answer, because that is who you are. You're a storyteller. You do it well. Better than most. And while there is no shame in 'hostess' or even 'lost'.... writer was perfection for you. At 23. And definitely at 24.

iheartkiwi said...

good for you my dear. you are truly a wonderful writer!

i had this very same dilemma the last time i went to new zealand with kiwi... i sure as heck wasn't going to put receptionist! thankfully now i'm back in school and all is well. big kid career here i come!

p.s. i turned 24 this year... so far it's shaping up to be a good one :)

Sara said...

I had a very minor brain spasm when I turned 24, all of seven months ago. And sometimes, I forget how old I am now and tell people I'm 25. It's weird, but I understand.

Elizabeth said...

I'm 25 and 9 months. 26 in not very long. I've been freaking out about being 25 for over 9 months. Lots of phone calls to Mom. Lots of questioning life and my decisions. Lots of insecure moments of not feeling accomplished enough for 25. But lots of moments of gratefulness for my random adventures and the idea that I still have blanks to fill in. And nearing the end of 25, I'm starting to care a whole lot less about my so called un-accomplishments.
More power to you... enjoy the journey!

Micaela said...

that you are meg fee. A brilliant writer who writes her heart and writes with truth.

i know what you mean... i'm 25 (my scary age) and i already thought i'd be married and with a kid by now.

so i love this post, because i'm not the only one who thinks these thoughts.

you are a BRILLIANT writer. brilliant.

defining amy said...

i can relate on so many levels. i'm very grateful that at least today, you are a writer.

Spardha Malik said...

this was a really beautiful post!
i hope i have some direction too in my life when i turn 23 next month!! *shudders*

Bexpress yourself said...

I'm turning 25 in a few days and am extremely scared! Hopefully someone will buy me a kitten to take my mind of it...

Bexpress yourself said...

Also I think my scariest age was 22 when I burst into tears at the kitchen table wailing 'i thought i'd have my own flat and a good job by noooooooowwwwww'. my dad and my sister didn't know what to do! xxx

Anonymous said...

i will quote from
Rainer Maria Rilke's "Letters to a Young Poet"

"Be patient toward everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves. Do not search for the answers which could not be given to you now because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything...Live the questions now"

... and i think "if when you wake up in the morning you can think of nothing but writing... than you are a writer."

Anonymous said...

I get what you mean .....I was completely fine up until a couple of weeks ago when my life plans changed and I realised journalism wasn't for me, and then all of a sudden I'm like I'm 22 ...I can't spend another 4 years in college to do something completely different ....so now I'm having a crisis!lol!
But if I was happy with my job I know I'd be Yay 22 I'm a Baby!lol!

jess said...

I have been there.. fretting about a # 24, 25, 26, etc.. but I realized a little while back that age is nothing more than a number.. I think age is 10% physical and 90% mental.. just tell yourself that you will not be defined by a number.. you decide how you are going to feel and act and if on some days you feel and act like you are 17.. all the better!!
p.s. I think 'writer' is exactly what you should have written ;)

Jalene said...

Wow! Absolutely beautiful. I would agree that you are, indeed, a writer. It gave me goosebumps. I kind of feel the same way about turning 22... having no direction, prospects, etc... but in the strangest way, I feel like that's all OK. And I'm fine and happy with the way my life is, directionless and all.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Kelsey said...

Oh, I just loved this post.

Erin said...

I love this and you are a writer.

IIDA said...

I love your blog. It changes my life a bit every time.

JulieD said...

I related to this post so much, thank you for posting it! I just graduated from college, turn 23 in a few months, and have no real direction for my life, either. I mean, I love life, I just don't know where it's going. People ask, and I just go....uh....to be figured out? I want something to fill in the blanks, as well.

Jalene said...

Oh... and what day is your birthday? Mine is in a little over a month too! Maybe we share them... who knows. Haha

Brittan said...

i just turned 24 in june and it unexpectedly became my scary age. it hit me hard. i'm going back to school, changing paths, racking up student loan debt... this really struck a chord.

(which, by the way, could not have happened were you not a great writer. :))

Monica said...

Honestly, I have been thinking for months that you should be a professional writer. Every post is beautiful.

However, I would love to see you perform. You could have two successful careers!

twenty.something said...

I hear you about 24! So scary... I am also beginning to think that I am only still taking classes so that I can enter "Student" when it's necessary, because I sure as heck don't know what I want to do with my life. I'm afraid of entering my real job and people eyeing my lack of direction.