I am only one month away from turning .., well you know. The big 3-0. I thought this would be a very timely reflection of what it has been like to be 29.
Mostly, I’ve done a lot of sitting and thinking, which sounds a little basic but I don’t recall doing this much before hitting this final countdown to adulthood.
I have thought more about my health, my social life, my friends and my family. I have also thought more about the things in my home, the things I want and the things I definitely don’t.
Overwhelmingly, it has been a positive, happy year, and not the scary nightmare I thought it would be.
Yes, noticing the first lines on your face is a total downer, but being faced with your own mortality kind of motivates you to take care of yourself. This year I am proud to say that I have been walking to work, running in the park, getting up early to do Pilates classes, calling in sick when I am sick, not eating fast food and cutting down on the ridiculous amounts of nachos and beer I was consuming regularly.
I have also finally made peace with the fact that I am happiest in my PJs, braless, at home, watching The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. I no longer feel the need to prove to society that I have a thriving social life by attending outings at places I hate with people I have little to talk about.
Of course, I still enjoy socialising with my friends, but I have certainly said goodbye to those nights when you squeeze yourself into an uncomfortable dress, then fight with your face and hair before forcing your feet into shoes that feel like you’re wearing barb wire and then partying all night simply so you can be seen and known as a sociable person.
So, embracing my inner couch potato has been amazing, and I don’t care who knows it.
Finally, let’s talk about stuff. Consumerism is deeply embedded in our culture, and I have certainly fallen victim to it. When I started reflecting on the things I have, I realised what a fortune I have wasted on skincare products, expensive ‘special occasion’ clothes, and even just ‘cute’ stationary. So 29 has been all about getting rid of shit – especially things that made me feel guilty, annoyed or anxious.
For instance, I have given away clothes that don’t fit me, because it is highly unlikely that I will get back my figure from high school because yes, I had a pair of jeans from when I was 17 that I was hoping to fit into, and it was frustrating me that I couldn’t. I finally acknowledged that I won’t fit into it again not because I’m fat but because, well, I grew out of them!
You also chuck people – that person you worked with 8 years ago for 7 months? Really don’t need to follow their story on Facebook anymore. That high school friend that’s kind of the Eric Cartman in the group and their stupid face and attitude has annoyed you for over a decade? Delete their number. Making space for the people you really care about and dedicating your time to them is much more fulfilling. Yes, 29 teaches you that it is about the quality, not quantity of friends.
So does this make the 30s any less daunting?
It really doesn’t. It still sounds scary as hell.
But I am ready to say goodbye to my 20s, knowing that I don’t want to be 22 again, because have enjoyed all there was to enjoy, made all the mistakes required to learn and done all the growing needed to face the next decade.
So here’s to all the 29-year olds out there, I hope this year is as enlightening for you as it has been for me.