Monday, May 20, 2013
Why I No Longer Fear My 29th Birthday
Then begins the countdown to 30.
As I've said recently, 30 doesn't bother me, but 29 was making me anxious. And then we had dinner with some friends of ours. Friends we've had since High School. Every few months we get together for dinner, to catch up with one another, and naturally to reminisce about the past.
Unlike many of my former school mates, I've always looked back on High School as this amazing time in my life when I felt free. When the drama of romance was the biggest problem in my life. When it was normal to learn about yourself, to explore who you are and who you want to be as a person.
And then I made choices, made changes, and tried to force myself into a box. I thought I didn't have a choice. And I struggled. I succeeded at covering up my imperfections for a number of years, but then I would fail and I would struggle to find worth in myself because of that failure. Good times would come again and suddenly I had value once more. But I had to fight for it. Fight for a value and worth I thought I needed, never seeing the true amazement of the person waiting just under the surface. I tried so hard to be perfect for so many years.
Remembering High School with my friends was an eye opening experience. We shared memories and told similar stories from different perspective and learned quite a lot. I learned that despite struggling to be a "perfect Mormon girl", when I left High School at the beginning of my Junior year in order to graduate early, there was a small rumor circulating that Matt had gotten me pregnant. It clearly didn't go far and was obviously false.
I laughed because had I known back then (especially considering how hard I was fighting to create a good girl reputation for myself), I would have drowned in the sorrows of misery and self pity, grieving for the reputation that I'd lost among people I wouldn't see again until our ten years High School reunion. I laughed because it doesn't matter. Because I'm no longer that girl who struggles to hide herself and fit into a box. I'm becoming that girl who is fighting to show her true self, and spray painting the box bright pink.
I feared 29 because I felt like I'd wasted my twenties. Like I'd spent so much time and effort trying to be something and someone I wasn't. Like I'd spent most of my years sitting on the couch, wasting time watching television with my husband and getting fat. But today I think back on my twenties and I say, "Look how far you've come!"
Just like High School, I spent my twenties trying to learn about myself, explore who I was and who I wanted to be as a person. And I feel like I've succeeded. I did spend a lot of these years on our old denim couch, watching television. Just sitting with my husband, cuddled on the couch, laughing and crying at a simple television screen. But that's not a bad thing. And I did get fat. But fat's not a bad thing. And I'm learning to see it clearly.
I don't fear 29 anymore. Because it's a new start. I'm coming in close to the end of a chapter in my life, and this is the last leg of this part of the race. 30 will come next year and I've gotten a new rush of energy and a new spark to keep going. Just one more mile to a new step in life.
I hope my 29th year brings as many memories, as many triumphs, as many friends and loved ones and experiences. Because my 28th year was pretty damn remarkable.