Sunday, August 24, 2014

Turning 29

I've been 29 for about 6 months now. And turning 29 is probably the one of the best things that has happened to me in recent memory. 

I thought I would meet this year with unusual trepidation. After all, 27 ushered in worries and concerns I had never known. What would people think about me? The haunting of a slew of painful failures and embarrassments, the anxiety of watching my friends getting married or having their first (or second) kiddo, the feeling of being left behind in some sort of way moved with me into 28, then were amplified. I actually was old enough to remember my mom when she was 28. But here I was, no family, no solid career path, no idea why I felt like there was something wrong with me, feeling stuck, stunted, stranded. 

Then came 29. And I don't know what has come over me this year, whether it's been the loss of 2 very loved elders of mine, watching things fall apart, or an unquantifiable amount of disappointments and set backs, but I've simply become a different person. 

Those people we lost this year are now free from the suffering that plagued their bodies and are at peace, and the families are now closer together than before with new perspectives on life. Those things that have fallen apart, they came back together in unexpected, beautiful, stronger ways. Those setback and disappointments taught me to role with the punches and gave me an unexpected but oh so needed spiritual workout.

I became stronger this year. The worries and regrets of just 365 days ago no longer upset me now, and, if anything, greatly inform the person that I am today.

So why all this hooplah over 29? 

The Cut posted Everybody Likes a You When You're 29 by writer Maggie Lange, sharing info collected by a recent study which says that the average 29 year old has about 80 solid acquaintances. "This information comes from a survey of just over 1,500 British people, which was conducted... by a group called Genius Gluten Free. The survey reveals that at 29 years people still keep connections with school friends, while also having several years to develop work friendships."

"And 29-year-olds are totally desired friends." Lange continues. "They're just a little wise, just a little youthful, just a little hip, just a little centered. They're still free to hang out, but unlikely to be a truly bad influence." I like all of that. I believe I've become most of that.

Yesterday, The Cut also posted The Power of 29 by Ann Friedman, saying "I’m just noting that, for so many women, our 20s are a warm-up decade. Thirty is when things start to get really good. I think this has something to do with the fact that many women won’t really go for it, pour their whole selves into something and push like hell to make it work, until they’re convinced they can crush it."
Both of these posts come just days following the Huff Post Women's posting of 10 Things I Don't Give A Shit About Now I'm 29, where writer Erin Russell muses over the things she no longer thinks about now entering the last year of her twenties. Among them, celebrity gossip, sex tips, confession articles, oh yeah, and your approval. 

Russell sums up her arrival into 29, saying "Look, we're all flawed human beings...You don't need to throw on a full face of makeup and a cute sundress to go to the grocery store, you don't need to hide the fact that you poop from your significant other, you don't need to be married by 25 so you can be together for three years before baby No. 1 at 28. Life works in mysterious ways, and everyone is not on the same schedule. Just focus on being the best version of yourself. What more can anyone ask?" 

Seems like I'm in good company. 29 is a year of growth, a year of transformation. A year of looking back with nostalgia, not regret. A year of looking forward with optimism and gratitude, after all every year is a gift and a blessing. And I plan on enjoying as much as I can.