I turned 29 earlier this week. It’s my last year as a twenty-something and it feels anti-climactic. I‘m not sure what I expected, but it certainly wasn’t this feeling of, “Okay, what now? Thirty? I can do thirty.” I know I’m supposed to dread the big 3-0, but as the clock ticks forward and the calendar turns the page towards another year, I find myself looking forward to being thirty (and flirty and thriving). Hopefully, by thirty I’ll have found that adage about age bringing wisdom to be true because right now, at 29, I have no idea what the hell I’m doing approximately 85% of the time.
Originally, I thought it would be fun to list 29 things I’d learned now that I’m 29, but I can’t actually think of 29 clever and/or interesting things to list. Because the things I know are things like the importance of a comma and separating whites from colors and most people would find neither interesting nor clever. So, instead of a fun and witty list, I write an ode to Age, the wiliest old gal I know.
She’s a tricky friend who lulls me into submission with promises of cake and presents and fools me into believing she’ll teach me things with time. She makes me believe that next year or the year after that is when I’ll magically learn how to cook or what constitutes a good glass of wine. She gives me hope that one day I’ll remember to pay all of the bills on time and to get my oil changed without a reminder from my husband.
And then year after year, I’ve yet to learn something new and I’m let down.
I was loyal to Age, as she faithfully visited me each year. I spent my entire life believing in her power, knowing that if I paid close enough attention, she’d teach me all I wanted to know. I was a bossy, boisterous, ostentatious kid who just wanted to be older, to know things, to see and do and feel things. I wanted to be a grown up, secure in her vast grown-up knowledge and adult-y skills. I just knew that once twenty hit, I would finally, thankfully be one.
My early twenties were full of optimism. I believed in Age and the things she was sure to teach me. “Well, hellooooooo 22! It’s good to see you’re here to show me how to drink responsibly. Hangovers? They were so last year, when I was younger and drunker. Now I drink craft beers and buy bottles of red wine that cost more than eight dollars that I don’t actually drink because I still don’t like red wine.”
I remained faithful in my mid-twenties. “Oh, 25? I know you’re totally going to open up the world of stocks and teach me how to invest my money so by the time I’m 40 I can retire in style.”
But as I neared the end of the twenties road, I grew a bit jaded. “Hey, 28! Good to see you! I still don’t know anything about wine or money but I bet this is the year for the big “How to Effectively Communicate with Your Spouse” epiphany.”
As this last birthday approached, I felt somehow let down because that wisdom I’d hoped to gain, the sophistication I thought would come? It’s somehow eluded me. With each passing year, I grow a bit more anxious. Shouldn’t I have figured out how to adult by now? Shouldn’t I have gotten it? Shouldn’t I, at the very least, know what the hell it is?
And then I think, does it even matter? Age has been there for me since before I can remember. And even as she steals my years away and gives me far different knowledge than I’d hoped, she remains my most faithful companion, never failing to kiss the new lines near my eyes and the wiry gray hairs that sprout each year.
So, here’s looking at you, 29 – things are definitely more complicated than you originally led me to believe they would be, but I can dig it because 30 is just around the corner and I hear she has big plans for me.