Pretentious Thoughts on Turning 29

“The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.”
― Robert Frost

Granted I’m still in my 20s and therefore probably hilariously unqualified to make this statement, but I have zero problems with getting older.

I turned 29 at the start of the month and got a few friendly jibes about nearly being 30, which is no problem because most of my friends and acquaintances are hilarious and the puns were on point. But also, I’ve always looked forward to my 30s. I don’t know why, it just always seemed like a pretty decent decade to me, where in experience would be had and **** would be figured out, as they say.

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I’m not sure of achieving the latter in any notable way, but I’m still pretty positive that my 30s will hold a lot of good things that I’m looking forward to. I live in one of the world’s most incredible cities with a husband I’m rather partial to, we’re on our way out of student debt, in jobs that will turn into careers which we also happen to really like. I am infinitely more confident now than I was a decade ago, no doubt a result of being more skilled and technically intelligent. Getting older has come with some pretty great by products–a university degree, a good partner, almost ludicrously varied life experience, work skills, writing opportunities, travel… What on earth is there to be upset over about that? Wrinkles? Please!

Call me vain, but getting older also hold no fears thus far physically. Sure, I’ve already got some lines around my eyes started and still need to exercise more, but hand on my heart I can say that I look a lot better at 29 that I ever did at 19! I’ve never been hugely body-conscious, but neither have I been radically body confident, and I’m convinced that puberty is decently crummy all around on self-esteem. At 19 I still had a ton of teenage plumpness and, as a short girl, curves that were still not sure where they wanted to end up. At 29, things have settled down, symmetrically and largely without further incident. My figure and I fit each other (and probably more importantly, I’ve learned how to dress it. “Finally!” shouts my BFF from New York City who tried but failed to teach me the basics of hair care and style as early teenagers). I’ve grown into my own face. Or, perhaps this is all in my head and at 29 I simply care far less about what other people think about my looks and personality. This too is a delightful possibility.

I do not for one second subscribe to the idea that high school are college are the “best years of your life,” even if you have good experiences with them. I do not want to go back to being smaller (emotionally speaking, height-wise nothing has changed), dumber, narrower, less experienced, less confident, or less capable. I’m annoyed by social pressures, normally physical and largely directed towards women and girls, that make me feel like I’m supposed to stop, or worse turn back, the clock in some way.

Moving forward, I’ll get more wrinkles and my hair will go gray–I hope in patches so I can channel Stacey London. Or Cruella de Ville, whichever. I will wear bright lipstick until they nail my coffin down. I will keep learning to do things that feel beyond me. I may go back to school. I may have a family, if Jeff is persuasive enough. I will definitely get a dog. I will go fabulous places, both with my pretty awesome husband and by myself. I will keep doing work that intimidates me. I will probably be bad at most of these things at some point, and life will still tick on because I will also probably be good at some of them too.

The term “aging” needs to go. It’s called “living.”

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