I’ve never been a recognizable person. The baby pictures don’t match the little girl, who resembles nothing of the teenager, and the adult that emerged doesn’t look in any way related to the rest of them. Some people have a ley line through their lives. They’ve always looked like their families and they’ve always looked like themselves, and I’ve always been a person – it seems – cobbled together of different things. And in a way, it’s unsurprising that this quality is manifested physically. Because internally, I’ve always been a person of eras. Ages. Remarkably symbolic, sentimental, nostalgic. I feel acutely the endings of things. I celebrate, ceremoniously, the emerging of things. I live my life with a heightened sense of fanfare and closings and borders.

Tomorrow I will wake up 29, because I don’t suspect I’ll rise before 7:24 AM. The very last year of my twenties. And naturally, this birthday harbors with it that added sense of importance. Another decade comes to a close. The one they beat into you with inappropriate enthusiasm a purely circumstantial and highly unauthenticated emphasis; These are the best years of your life, and mine are sunsetting.

I don’t believe this, of course. I feel not a lick of fear or trepidation at the prospect of entering my thirties. When you boil it down, who cowers at the idea of more life? This sense of importance I feel is purely of my own brand. I feel this responsibility – to honor the years of this decade, shed what I can logically leave here, and move through the next year of my life with an intentionality. My twenties were good. I fulfilled dreams of mine I both thought would take a lifetime and wish I started sooner. I did brave, terrifying things. Even today, I received little flowers from their bounty. It’s quite fitting now that I think about it. It’s not that I think my thirties will be a time to start something I couldn’t achieve now. It’s not that I have a bucket list of things I must do before my age starts with a three. It’s that I want more of what I have now, less of what ails me, and a gait of walking that neither winds nor bores me.

I’ve been thinking about these other things we do to make our lives a little less satisfying. Yes, we glamorize our twenties – a set of time in which, for most people, half is spent trying to orient ourselves to the tuning world. But aside from that, we infuse this false and poisonous call for gratitude into our day that crowds out the ability for authentic experiences.

“Live like there’s no tomorrow”. A platitude that simply can’t be achieved. Because for most of us, there will be a tomorrow. There will be consequences to our actions and even more for our nonactions. There will be bills to pay. There will be Instagram posts and middle managers breathing down your neck for a glimpse of ambition. There will be intense passions and sorely fought for goals.

“Don’t sweat the small stuff”, “It could all be gone tomorrow”. The simple and clearly plain decision to switch off the human side of your corporeal form and elevate yourself to the goddess of light you have saved in a mood board. Don’t get frustrated at the small thing that is a part of a much larger thing! So you have to live with it for the rest of your life, isn’t that better than mentioning it and missing out on a moment you might forget anyway?

These seeds of wisdom are baseless weeds that provide not flowers or shade, but guilt. These stupid little Pinterest quotes don’t turn you around, they don’t change your life, they make you feel guilty for experiencing normal reactions to your life. Perhaps in small doses, these evoke a smile or remind you to take a full breath in. But nothing in our society is comprised of small doses anymore. We are the ducks being force fed for our fat. We are a bounty to be reaped. And it’s easy to make a sale of someone who is looking to unload a guilty conscious.

I simply can’t live in a world where I can’t be annoyed when I’m annoyed, because I might regret not enjoying that moment tomorrow. I can’t disregard the important subtext because of the unknowability of life. I can’t become a carefree, totally unbothered, preference-less prototype because life would be better lived that way. Because I’ll always be human. And I’ll always have preferences, and needs, and goals, and desires. In 29, I am going to work to be resolute in that.

I don’t need to create more space by carving out some of my own. I don’t need to swallow the remnants of recurring problems just to be a dear. I won’t let the whispering of people whose motives I can’t know allow me to pick up the blade. I am going to live like there is a tomorrow and that I care about it. I am going to sweat the small stuff so that I don’t become pinned under the thumb or larger things.

I feel a sense of peaceful, wispy, ease in slipping into 29, in approaching 30. I feel a soft sense of balance and bliss and awareness. And so I didn’t intend for this post to become sharp. I expected it to land softly upon the screen. But apparently this is what I needed to say. In order to make my soft landing, I need to be resolute in my flight path. 27 was peace, 28 was surrendering, 29 is intention. Every iteration of me spilling into this being who is prepared to take control.

I hope you’re prepared to take control, dear reader, from the assuaging fingers of those who find you easier to supplant when you’re anxious and wanting. I hope you define your own borders, and fanfare, and closings. I hope you can challenge the definites you’ve been handed. I hope we all can find ourselves again through the murkiness that’s polluted our headspaces.

I’m ready for you, 29. Come find me.

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