A Farewell to my Twenties



Today I turn 30.  I’m not big on counting numbers or playing by the unspoken rules of society’s standards. Although I’m just starting to enter middle age, I like to think I keep a certain vigor and optimism about me often associated with youth, even with the cynicism creeping in.  I strive to be energetic, yet chill, spontaneous, yet responsible, impulsive, yet cautious.  I love defying people’s expectations at every turn.

On this third of April, I wish to share feats both large and small accomplished in my twenties.  It was certainly a decade of coming-of-age, of change, of finding my own feet and taking off running.  And stumbling, picking myself up, and running in some other direction.  I’m a person of motion, of adventure, and of new experiences, and I look forward to what a new decade will bring for this little Hobbit.

Twenty-nine Triumphs & Turmoils of Tops’ Twenties:

  1. Science!  I used to be a research assistant in genetics, and I’ve even had some work published.
  2. I wrote several songs on my guitar, possibly at least one about Harry Potter.
  3. Rock-climbing and contra dancing.
  4. Anarchism and biocentrism.
  5. Polyamory, and many lovely & not-as-lovely relationships.  I learned how to have good sex.
  6. Bicycle mechanics!  I built my first bike and my first wheelset.  Haven’t had to true those wheels since!  Seriously.
  7. I graduated college with a Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in Biological Sciences, minoring in Chemistry.  I attended graduate school in a PhD program for Genetics.  I dropped out when my passions waned.
  8. I went on my first cross-country road trip, with my dad.  Best memory: waking up on a bare mattress in the middle of the badlands surrounded by a herd of buffalo.
  9. I rode and helped organize my first alleycat races in Pittsburgh and Madison: the War-Haul, Rub-a-Dub, Pussy Cat, Madtown Maidens, Scaredy-Cat, and many more.
  10. I moved to Wisconsin!  Cheese, beer, brats, and old-fashioneds!  I still miss Pittsburgh pierogies, though.
  11. Hitchhiking.
  12. Bunnies and chickens.
  13. I got involved with many community/activism groups: FreeWheel Community Bike Shop, Drumlin Farm, Food Not Bombs, Madison Infoshop, Critical Mass, GrassRoutes Caravan, Beehive Design Collective, Madison Free Skool, Muffin Club, Grassroots Leadership College, Groundwork, Bash Back! support, and the list goes on….
  14. Fertility Awareness.
  15. I wrote a few zines, including “Poly Oly Oxen Free: a zine about polyamory,” which was used in workshops around the country.
  16. I was arrested twice.  Once as a zombie, once naked.
  17. I spent half of a decade working with teens at DreamBikes, and found the work rewarding and fun.
  18. I visited a prison in my “neighborhood,” and started writing letters to some of those within.
  19. I participated in an entrepreneur program and wrote a viable business plan for a small bicycle repair shop.  I also started an Etsy store for bicycle cross stitch and bike zines, a store which I still occasionally maintain.  How capitalist of me.
  20. Bicycle tours: Madison to the Twin Cities with 40 people, Milwaukee and back, Iowa and back, the Maine coast, Seattle to the Mississippi River, and many shorter trips around southern Wisconsin.
  21. Celebrating my inner nerd: WisCon, steampunk, Ring Game, Harry Potter, and too many costumes to count.
  22. I lived in the small rural town of Ashland, Wisconsin for almost two months.
  23. I learned how to better manage my anger, mood swings, and occasional obsessive/compulsive behavior.  Or maybe I just grew out of that emo phase….
  24. I lived collectively in various anarchist-oriented houses.  Dishes were always a problem.
  25. I maintained semi-successful vegetable gardens, and learned how to put food by: pickling, fermenting, canning, and freezing.
  26. I tanned deer hides and started hunting again, slowly learning traditional archery.
  27. I finally got my drivers license and even owned a car for a year.
  28. I saw my widdle brother get married, becoming the most loving husband I’ve ever known.  What a guy he is!
  29. So many good friends, many of whom live all over the country now, one of whom has passed away, and all of whom I miss dearly.


4 thoughts on “A Farewell to my Twenties

  1. Nikki

    As someone who lived probably the better part of a decade in Ashland, I can see why 2 months counts as an achievement! Kidding mostly, it actually has fun pockets of weirdness if you look around for them.

    • Tops

      I did enjoy Ashland, Nikki, and know several awesome people who live there and/or who went to Northland. I moved as the town was entering hibernation and didn’t have a car to explore the area much (two hits against me). I really missed the bike culture of Madison, however, … more than I expected! I still plan to visit Ashland and the bay area/peninsula often… once I have regular access to a car again!

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