…Great about it.
I’ve been dreading this post – the one I’ve written every August 7th for the past five years – because I felt I hadn’t come to any conclusions about my own 2-9 mark. I didn’t feel particularly anxious or particularly calm. I didn’t have very many regrets about my 20s, and I know that those I do have are just a product of peer slash self pressure (I don’t have a three picture deal!! I haven’t written a successful young adult book series!!!). I’m healthier than I’ve ever been thanks to more regular flossing and less regular dirty martinis. This weird area on my hip hurts when I go on the elliptical for longer than 30 minutes, but I’m going to chalk that up to the fact that 29 is not 18, and be grateful I only have three strands of grey hair (well…used to…plucked those puppies the minute I found them). I am in a relationship with the absolute right person, and he makes every aspect of my life better, every day. And even though they’re 3K miles away, my loving and supportive family remains loving and supportive in a way that feels like they’re right here in L.A.
So is life a blissful place of self acceptance and wise perspective on love and life? Absolutely not.
Every other day I wonder if I’m making the right decision about how I balance my work and my passions (note: I’m not, and I’m working on that…). Sometime around 3pm every day I almost fall asleep and think to myself, oh my god am I tired because I’m old?? I am!! I’m tired because I’m old!! I cannot just eat a bagel and cream cheese every morning for breakfast. My blood is Italian and Jewish, and my thighs are now following suit. There are days when I wonder if I’m waiting to long to start a family, and I’m not married or engaged. When I’m sitting in bumper to bumper traffic on Olympic at 5PM I think, all of my family and most of my closest friends are across the entire country; what am I doing here?! And I now have the potential to get a hangover after two drinks. TWO DRINKS PEOPLE!
These lists of life pluses and minuses are only meant to prove that 29 isn’t any one thing, just like 25,6,7 and 8. I have pride and I have disappointments. I feel young and I feel old. I am comfortable in my skin and still totally self conscious at times. I both know what I want to come in my life and have no idea how or when it will happen. Sometimes that is totally and completely overwhelming, and sometimes that is somehow entirely manageable.
But I think at 29, versus 25,6,7, or 8, I realize that it’s not about knowing everything, it’s about handling the inability to truly know anything. Any life worth living is a balancing act of passions and obligations, family and friends, fears and desires. I have not fully mastered any of those things, but on any given day I can feel in control of one or some. Those moments on those days feels good, and that good feeling gives me hope, and that hope makes me excited about all the next days to come.
So after four years of writing 800 word essays on what it means to turn a given age inside this all-powerful 20 to 30-year range, I don’t have a thesis statement on the final 20-something number. Today I feel great. Tomorrow I may feel tired or frustrated or fat. By Thursday, who knows.
Life isn’t measured by what we think we know but rather by how we know to live.
At 29 I feel like I’ve really got a handle on how to be alive…