Monday was my birthday - I don't know if I mentioned that? I think I had my pre-29 freakout and then never mentioned it again. Birthdays are weird when you're older. They're not nearly as fun and exciting as they are when you're a kid. Or even when you're in your early twenties. I'll still get a slight twinge of anticipation when I suddenly realize that my birthday is in two days, but maybe that's just nostalgia. You're not supposed to get excited about your birthday when you're an adult, it seems. Which wasn't hard for me this year. I was oddly depressed about it, for reasons I can't really articulate, but birthday plans had to be prodded out of me. It came and went and in some ways it was just another day, but in others, it was nice to feel special and loved.
As far as feeling older, well, nothing feels different. I suppose that I'd been making my peace with 29 for several weeks leading up to it (to the point where I had to remind myself several times that I was still, in fact, 28) so it kind of felt like I was already there. I feel a bit more older and wiser and mature than I did when I turned 28 last year, but I think that's largely because I've grown and changed quite a bit over the last year, in subtle ways that have added up, and that I only notice now because I'm taking stock of things. If that makes any sense.
My fuse is also shorter and my patience is much thinner for the vapid and the shallow, and for the glaring shortcomings of "kids" in their early 20s. I am officially, completely removed from that era - though I'm not quite "in" with the next age bracket yet - and, frankly, it kind of makes me feel like a snob. But at the same time, I think it's because I've mellowed out. Different things are important to me, and things that I used to give occasional concern to (for example, pageviews and traffic on this here blog) - I no longer give a flying kitten about. Because it doesn't matter. For the first time, I'm pretty content with being in a slower lane. Watching the vitriol that gets spewed at anyone with a high profile on the Internet, well... no thank you. I'd rather be a bit obscure and keep a positive space. Because the people that hang around here? Are awesome. They are friendly and smart and not bitter anonymous trolls. Which is worth way more than a higher Google Page Rank.
Not just Internet stuff though, either, even though that's where it seems to be the most obvious. I'm returning to my happy place, which mainly means that I've been reading more, staying in more, finding my center in solitude more. I don't meditate or do yoga but I've found that a lot of my personal inner peace, so to speak, simply comes from being alone for a while, practicing my hobbies and shutting out the noise of the world.
Getting older terrifies me a bit, insomuch as the current lifestyle I have, the one that suits me so well, is very much one of someone in their late twenties/early thirties. I kind of feel like I'm in my prime and that my particular contentment isn't sustainable into the decades that come later. Because this type of freedom isn't something that you associate with middle age. I have no desire to trade my apartment for a house because I want nothing to do with the expense or the maintenance; I have no desire to trade my quirky yet pleasing aesthetic and decor for ivories and bieges and mature taste. Maybe this will be a natural progression as I age, and the things I like now, I will turn my nose up at in ten years - kind of the way I am doing it to my own younger self now. Maybe it just means I'm on track, I'm developing at the proper pace, and life will carry on as it should. I feel much more self-aware and well-adjusted now than I did at 26 or 27. It took me a while to find my footing, but then again, I've always been a late bloomer. But once I get there, everything clicks.
I don't even know what I'm trying to say, other than that 29 feels exactly like 29. It feels just right for where I am now. I fit pretty well in 28; it felt like I'd been 28 forever and would always be 28, but now it feels like 29 is okay too. Even though it's only been four days. (One thing is for sure, I'm definitely not getting more eloquent with age.)
Mostly, I just kind of felt like I should acknowledge it somewhere. Share a few initial observations about where I'm at. Because even if you're not supposed to get super excited about your birthday when you're an adult, it's kind of weird to outright ignore it. So here we are: I am now officially a year older, and even though I joke about it constantly, I don't really feel "old." I don't feel "young" either - I just feel like... me.