I’ve always found it odd when people wished me a happy 29th birthday, regardless of what year I was celebrating. Is that the optimum age, 29? Maybe for some. But I’d rather stick a fork in my eye and roll it around vigorously before plucking it out and eating it than time-hop – even metaphorically – back to 29, a collasal shitshow in my life.
Truth is, I like getting older. I like myself getting older. I am nicer, less judgmental and take more risks. I see – and seek – more purpose and spend more time with those I love. I’m aware of the importance of taking care of and loving myself – and I’m not just talking about my body. And my personal ethos certainly developed long after 29.
Getting beyond this hallowed age doesn’t imply a downward trajectory – anymore than it does a skyward one. No one gets out of life unscathed – some more than others, but each of us is marked by our time in this quixotic world in some way. And, barring mental illness, to a large degree life is what we make it – both because and in spite of our circumstances.
Aging can be a beautiful thing, mired in experience that brings about wisdom, and ultimately, bodhi – although that’s a tall order for most of us. Still, once we’re unstuck from “29” and what that implies, why not?
Ultimately, aging is different for each of us and we’ll all embrace and release things along as we go. Hopefully? For the bulk of us, beyond 29 is more satisfying than not. For my part, I hit that golden age in 2001, the whole world in a panic. We collectively made it through that time, and even became a little wiser in doing so. And while there is obviously no comparison to aging – only a reference in my personal timeline – I made it up to 50, and I’m feeling pretty damn good about that.