Be Prepared for Tangents

I will be turning 35 years old in 2014 and I often find myself reflecting on my 30th birthday. I can’t remember what my party was like or if I even had one. What I do remember however, is the feeling of clarity that I had on that day. It all began to make sense.

I have always been a different kid. At a young age it manifested with an extreme shyness while in public, which led to major outbursts of communication when around my immediate family members (my poor mother). Let’s just skip over junior high (I was a sensitive child who was afraid of failure – it was if some of the bullies could sense it and feed off of it); but while in high school I began to find others who liked to go to the “beat of their own drum” so to speak (theatre freaks). Yet, even among my high school comrades, I felt out of place. My solace was old black and white movies; my first crush was Jimmy Stewart. College was a blur; I partied a bit, but again never really felt like one of the group. In reflection, I am a quirky free-spirit who struggled with a type-A personality.

Since high school, I had a dream of working in the theatre and it came true when I was accepted into an internship program at The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, DC. I worked in development (the department in a theatre where you beg rich people for money and get yelled at) and the illusion of what I thought theatre was began to crumble. After a promotion to special events manager while experiencing the insanity that was 9/11 in Washington, DC, I traveled to Boston for a visit with family and a chance to regroup (it worked, thanks Aunt Cheryl). After that, I met my future husband and we continued as a couple to try and figure out who we were was as young adults.

Let’s fast-forward eight years, to that awesome birthday. Finally I said, to heck with you all and my attempts to fit in. I think it’s a myth that people think they are freest in their 20’s. That decade for many is spent stumbling around, trying to imitate pop culture icons of the time. People in their 20’s don’t have their true identities yet; they are like Clark Kent trying on several pair of glasses until they find the right ones. It’s right not because other people think it is, but because they do. You are not truly an adult until you can go to bed at 10 pm on New Year’s Eve and not give a dam.

Here is who I am: I get really excited about things (entertainment programs viewed on a screen, old school cartoon character drinking glasses, Tina Fey); I tangent at least five times during the course of a conversation; I don’t like sports, except maybe baseball in limited quantities (please don’t ever talk to me about football); I have this weird affinity for most things British, especially the Tudors; and I am a geek. I am the only grown woman Star Wars fan that I know. In my 20’s, I may have may have let others make me feel embarrassed by this, but now I relish it. Although I still have days filled with insecure thoughts, feel free to talk to me about movies or British monarchy and of course Star Wars – just be prepared for tangents.

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Kathryn Payne

Kathryn Payne

Kathryn is bored by your questions. She insists that you man up or woman up as nature suits and handle business. She further insists that you do this with all due sassiness and lace your speech with 30 Rock references whenever possible. Kathryn lives in Richland with her family and owns many scarves. No, you may not borrow them.

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  • Jergrif73

    Great read. I too, move to the beat of my own drum. And at 40 years old, I still don’t feel like I “fit in” anywhere. I’m ok with that. I seem to fit in perfectly with the people that love me…And my kids.

  • Elsie Puig

    Loved this post Kathryn!

  • I just entered my 30s and feel like I’ve finally arrived and finally figured out who my people are… amazing what clarity brings. 30s! 30s! 30s!

  • Suzy Garza Higley

    yep. 30’s are great! After 35, got even better. And Now I’m creeping in on 40 and I’m not worried about it. I feel better about who i am than i ever have. For the first time ever, I don’t feel bad about just being me…all the time, no matter who’s around. Getting older has is benefits. 🙂