Today is my birthday.
I share that with you reluctantly at the risk of sounding like I am fishing for birthday wishes, but I assure you, that’s not the case. It’s not that I don’t like my birthday or that I dread getting older, but as an introvert I shy away from drawing attention to myself altogether.
I am 29 today and a lot of people have made comments about this being the “last year of my twenties” or asked questions about how I feel about getting older. I usually reply with a run of the mill answer and a smile, but what I really want to say is, “Since when is 29 old???”
30 is not my scary age (45 is, in case you are wondering) so turning 29 has not brought on any added stress. I have always felt like an old soul and after getting married at 25 and having my first kid at 26, I feel like I have been in my thirties for a long time.
I like getting older. I always have. I know that is normal for most kids, (like the four-year-old version of me pictured above) but I guess I never grew out of it. Perhaps I haven’t reached my ideal age yet, so there is still something to look forward to. Maybe we all have an age we are most comfortable being and after that we just yearn to be that age again.
I never felt right as a child. I always had older friends and never really understood kids my own age. Even as a toddler, I was more comfortable around adults than my own friends. I have a lot of interests that are better suited for a senior citizen. I like to sew. I like to quilt. I like to watch Family Feud. I like going to bed at 10pm and I like eating dinner at 6 o’clock. I love Jell-O. It is possible I will never dread getting older.
As a child, getting older means more independence and new abilities. It means getting a higher allowance or riding a bike without training wheels. It means staying up later or getting your own cell phone (or in my case, a pager). It means getting a driver’s license or moving out of your parents house. No child gets sad about their birthday.
As an adult, growing older still means a changing landscape with a new set of priorities and passions. My husband and I were joking the other day about how our interests have changed and how “you know you are getting old when you are excited about mulch and compost.” The truth is I like our new life.
I had a lot of good times in my twenties but there are definitely a lot of things I won’t miss. I won’t miss going on awkward first dates or getting cocktails spilled on me on the dance floor. I won’t miss feeling like I can’t leave the house without make-up or always feeling like things would be so much better if I could just lose 5 lbs.
I feel like with age I have lost a lot of insecurities about myself and I really love that. Part of that is thanks to my husband. He makes me feel as beautiful when I am wearing a Hanes T-Shirt covered in spit-up with my hair in a bun that hasn’t been washed in three days as I do when I am dressed up for a night out. But part of that just comes with time and knowing yourself well enough to be comfortable in your own skin.
So, no, I am not mortified to be turning 29. I am thrilled. I feel like I did everything I wanted to do in my twenties and am excited about the things I can accomplish in my thirties. I have a beautiful family and a loving husband and the house of my dreams. I feel overwhelmingly loved and quite spoiled, really.
Here’s to getting another year older! I can’t wait to see what happens next!