This is 29
I'm twenty nine years old. Two nine. 29. Yes I'm a week late with this post but the fact still remains: I have entered the last year of my twenties. I'll be honest, I didn't have a picture of what 29 should look like. Probably surprising for most to learn. I haven't had a timeline for my life mapped out. Actually, I feel like I've spent so much of my adult like pushing off expectations for me. I had no interest in getting married young. Having kids young. I didn't come out of college with the idea of what my "perfect career" would look like. I haven't had an ideal destination to settle down in mind. In fact, I haven't even really had much interest in owning a home. If I really think about it, dig down and really think about it, the only aspirations I've had involve travel. Ever since I turned 21 in Wales, I've had this insatiable need to be on an airplane headed somewhere new.
Yet here we are. Twenty Nine. I have a career I stumbled into but find myself thriving at. I have a husband, which still doesn't quite register for me. I live in a crazy city that is both enchanting and exhausting. I still sleep on the mattress I've had since college but splurge for someone to fold my laundry for me at the laundromat. I still can't picture myself with kids and quite frankly, I feel no different than I did at 18 or 21.
Its strange isn't it? People tend to have these expectations for their life. There are all these milestones laid out for you: graduate from college and give up the yearly 3 month vacation you've become accustomed to, get a "real" job, legally tie yourself to another human, birth and care for a small human, spend thousands and thousands of dollars on some bricks, siding and a roof. In a way, I thought I was going to feel different when I reached these milestone. Even if I didn't have a timeline in mind for when I was expected to achieve them, I still thought they were going to be these big moments. Things that would "change" me and my perspective. But quite frankly, I feel no sense of accomplishment by reaching these markers. I feel no emotional attachment to them. They all just feel like another day in my life. Same as the days that came before and the days I'm sure that will follow.
When I saw England for the first time at 20, I thought I was going to have this overwhelming feeling of awe. I had dreamed of going abroad since at long as I could remember and I thought the moment I finally touched foreign soil would feel life changing. But it didn't. It didn't feel like this big huge thing. It didn't feel monumental to visit Big Ben in London. It didn't feel monumental to the mosaic tiles in Park Guell in Barcelona. It didn't feel monumental to watch sheep cross in front of our car in the English countryside. All of these experiences were incredible and wonderful and beautiful. But I didn't feel the way I had always envisioned in my head I would feel.
I think that should have been my first indication that all of the other "big" moments in life wouldn't end up feeling how society had made me feel like they should. My husband is probably going to murder me for saying this, but I don't think my wedding day was in fact "the best day of my life. Gun to my head I probably couldn't pinpoint what I'd consider the "best day of my life", but I do know that I've had a lot of really great days in my life. Like the day my husband (boyfriend at the time) and I went hiking in the Colorado mountains in the Fall. When we tuna fish packets for lunch on a boulder overlooking a still lake in the valley of mountain peaks. Or the day my husband surprised me with a stay at a hotel with the most breathtaking view of the Costa Rican coastline I could have ever dreamed of. The same day we spent the evening drinking fruity drinks in the hot tub during a rainstorm because the drive from Jaco to Mauel Antonio included a one lane road, uphill and along the the edge of a cliff. Looking back on my relationship, and on my life, I'd say my wedding was a super awesome day among a handful of other super awesome days.
I promise I have a point to all of these ramblings. I don't think we - speaking collectively as society here - should be placing so much emphasis on these big moments. On these milestones or "markers of success". I think we should be focusing on the everyday. On the little moments that make up our life span. Now, I'm not saying we shouldn't celebrate these huge, exciting things in our lives -- because I'd be lying if I didn't admit I'm the first one busting open a bottle of champagne when someone gets engaged or gets a promotion or buys a house -- but I think we should also be focusing on the mundane things that turn out to be huge and exciting too.
In the same vein of all these milestones, I don't think we should have such an emphasis on birthdays, or timelines. I don't think people should have a timeline in their mind of when they should have accomplished things. Because timelines inevitably lead to disappointment. So much of our life is contingent on circumstance and fortune. Some people probably hoped to be married with 2 kids by 30 and had to watch that dream pass them by, disappointed and unfulfilled. Others probably dreamed of having their first kid at 25, in a house they bought with their husband, but instead got knocked up at 17 and had to live in with their parents. But here's the thing: age doesn't define us. Milestones don't define us. Answers to our old school extended families routine questions at holiday dinners don't define us.
I'm sure I'll still have sort of weird mental breakdown about turning 30 come this time next year, but for now, I'm going to continue to embrace feeling like I'm never actually growing up. That is, until the grey hair and deep wrinkles make that fact unavoidable.