Recently, a woman I didn’t know asked me how I felt about turning 29. She told me her son had turned 29 a few months ago and has felt a sense of grief ever since. I understand her son’s feelings about being this age.
From talking with other people in their twenties, both friends and strangers, I know I am not alone in this sentiment. As children, we’re taught that by 29 we should have our lives figured out. Now being in my twenties for 9 years, I know this isn’t the case.
I’ve heard a wide-range of responses from people about turning 29. Panic attacks about how 30 is almost here. Feelings like you’re not living up to your potential, not doing enough with your life. Uncertainty lingering around every corner, constantly being reminded of the pressures society puts on people at this age.
I’ve heard the positive answer to this question too. Turning 30 isn’t as bad as it seems. It’s all about how you choose to look at it. You learn what’s bullshit and what’s real. Your thirties are much better than your twenties. You know yourself more. It doesn’t matter your age, it matters how you feel.
I don’t feel 29. I still feel like I’m in my early 20s. But I don’t feel the way I did in my early 20s. When I turned 20, Obama was still president, gay marriage wasn’t legal, and Roe vs. Wade was still in tact. The pandemic was six years away and I hadn’t come out yet as gay. I had crippling physical anxiety and everything frightened me.
Things have changed in the last decade of my life. I feel like I learned a lot about myself . I still have anxiety but it’s not crippling or physical. I have learned tools to control it. Meditation, CBD, writing, and self-awareness have really benefited my daily life. Therapy has helped too.
I told the woman who asked me how I felt about turning 29 that I understood how her son felt, it’s a weird time of life. But I have hope. It’s all about how I look at it. I don’t feel grief, I feel optimistic about life and my future even when I have anxiety or periods of depression. I’m still young. I’m not supposed to know everything.