By Kayleigh Rahn
My 20s are, admittedly, fading.
I’ve very recently turned 28 and my husband days before that 29. We met just before my 21st birthday as carefree, fresh, tanned vagabonds without a wrinkle or gray hair.
Looking back, I’ve been on a relatively traditional path throughout my 20s–college, graduation, an out-of-state move to start my career, a move back to Illinois to continue my career (and for love), marriage (to that same love), home ownership (back in my hometown), dog owner, and finally a parent.
Now William and I have spent our 20s together–learning and growing–and we’ve reached this moment in time that is for lack of a better term… exhausting.
We have a 10-month-old daughter and a 3-year-old dog. We are nearly three-year homeowners of a 120-year-old home, and we are both in crucial roles in our fields and offices. We’re at a crossroads of paying off student loans as we begin a fund for Nora’s education all the while thinking of our own retirement. (“You work too hard to come to the end of your life and be broke,” they tell us. “Social security isn’t a retirement plan, if it even exists in 40 years.” Point taken; we get it; we’re just working on the execution.) I’m not sure how you manage to fund the beginning and the end while in the meantime buy organic and pay to have your teeth cleaned, but miracles happen, and so here we are.
William and I have become masters of making it up as we go. Now that’s a bachelor’s program the universities should consider as administrators slash budgets and create curricula more suited for today’s world. Do away with the history of Eurasian cheese studies and compile a course about winging it through life. That’s something I’d put stock in. The syllabus would include units on how to balance a checking account and how to select the most efficient health insurance (err… scratch that second one) while suggesting that maybe stockpiling GMO-free baby food is something you can call in. Really. There is an app for that.
I don’t know how my mom raised two children without the Internet at her fingertips. What did she do when her two week old had clogged tear ducts? Which is truly a harmless issue, but seems as though your newborn’s eyeballs are rotting out of her head. A simple, 2 a.m. Google search let me know it’s probably harmless and to massage the ducts to help unclog the area, but it might also be the beginning stages of a rare form of youth blindness. The blindness can be quickly resovled but only by an all-natural serum banned by the FDA that must be applied as soon as possible for full sight recovery. After a second Google search for the quickest route to the Canadian border I called the health service’s 24-hour hotline. Clogged tear ducts. Whew! Maybe technology isn’t the key to modern parenting since William has now banned me from looking up Nora’s symptoms online. And he’s right. There is such a thing as too much information–even for millennials.
William and I are blessed with four of our six parents who live within 20 minutes of our home. We also have eight grandparents (including step), which makes for an expensive Christmas season, but we have full hearts–by blood and by love.
Luckily with so many grandparents we are never in short supply of babysitters for an evening out with friends, and I’m honest when I say we have the best friends. I’m certain the people with whom we surround ourselves are top-notch humans. They’re supporters and truth tellers–all the roles you need filled at this stage in life.
We’re a few 20- and 30-somethings–dreaded millennials–who have made the purposeful decision to live close to home in the Douglas County communities where we were raised.
Between us there are four kids under the age of 18 months, and while Saturday nights have changed in the last few years, getting together is still a highlight of the week.
These caring people help to create our village, and together it works for us.
So here we are. At the end, or maybe the beginning, of something big, huge, crazy, and fulfilling.
I think my twenties were a time of shake up, constant movement and change, but looking to my thirties I’m ready to perfect this journey. I hope we continue to learn and grow. Continue to laugh and cry. And I’m blessed to have an opportunity to share the peaks and valleys with our readers. Check back time to time as I offer details of this Rahn life–this big, exhausting, beautiful adventure.