I don’t feel old.
Over the last eight years, there’s been a significant shift in my Facebook newsfeed. What was once a collection of roommate gripes and spring break photos has become a collage of milestones. Friends from as far back as grade school celebrating engagements, buying homes, moving abroad — entering new life stages. And though it’s been great to see, watching their lives transform and progress has been so surreal, until now.
I’m 29 today, and 29 doesn’t generally come with much fanfare. On the contrary, it brings a warning. It’s the caution strip on the ground that signals the edge is near. The flashing light alerting you to traffic up ahead. That 30-second countdown during a speech as time runs out. Not to say that I’m running out of time — I have plenty — but ringing in my birthday has left a faint ticking sound in my ear…
With today comes the realization that I’ve officially reached the final stage of my twenties. From here, society says we only have 364 days left to get our lives together. After that it’s marriage, kids, career, retirement, and whatever we can squeeze in between. During this time, we’re expected to put our juvenile ways behind us, complete life’s trial-and-error phase, and fully transition into adulthood; and it’s terrifying. 29 is the ultimate pressure to become an adult.
But what do you do when you don’t “feel” 29? How do you manage this transition when, despite society’s forewarnings, you still reach for your marshmallow cereal every morning and stream cartoons each night? 29-years-wise, sure! But old? I’m an easily amused kid-at-heart who, honestly, doesn’t feel a day over 24.
With pressure mounting and true adulthood looming just around the bend, it’s a struggle, and it’s not just mine. Whether you’re 25 starting early or 35 and a late bloomer, this is for you. It’s my attempt at striking a balance between the real world and my world —“ adulting” in the most youthful way possible. I’m sharing my experience not only as a means of personal reflection but to provide a small bit of insight to others who also find themselves overwhelmed by the demands of the world. My life isn’t the standard — far from it — but if it can help even a few, then it’s an accomplishment.
Here’s to being 29-years-wise, but forever young.