For those who didn't notice the myriad of posts on my Facebook page, today is in fact my birthday. As of 6:40am Central Daylight Time this morning, I turned 29 years old (and yes, that means I'm 29 on 9-9-2009, just like I was 19 on 9-9-1999... numbers work out funny for me).
Right now I'm on my break at work, sitting in a cubicle adorned with streamers and balloons (courtesy of my co-workers who like any excuse to randomly decorate something). There's one streamer directly over my head that I'm incredibly likely to intercept when I stand up at some point... it's just asking for it really.
Twenty-nine is one of those birthdays that our culture obsesses over. When I mentioned that I was turning twenty-nine to one of my co-workers, she asked "Is it your first 29th birthday?" as a joke. This is a joke though that I would have never thought to make.
In our society, twenty-nine is supposed to be this last moment of youth. People obsess over it, as they're frightened by what follows... the dreaded thirty. When you're thirty, you aren't "young" anymore and have to be an "adult." Well, let me tell you, I haven't felt physically "young" for years. I, in fact, cannot still pull all nighters. I cannot eat whatever I want without gaining weight. I have experienced pops and cracks in joints that I wasn't aware could pop and/or crack.
All of this happened when I was in my mid-twenties as well. But this is apparently the hallowed decade in our youth obsessed culture, so I'm supposed to want to hang on to being in my twenties with everything I can.
You know what though? I remember my early twenties. They honestly weren't that awesome compared to my "adult" life right now. I'm smarter than I used to be, I'm significantly more emotionally adult, and my life is actually on track for once. My romantic life is actually where I want it to be, I have my degree, my job is fairly enjoyable, and things seem to be working out. Compare that to me when I turned twenty... a college dropout about to begin his three year tenure at a Best Buy.
I'll take twenty-nine over twenty any day.
And in a year I'll be thirty. How is that significantly different? I mean, yes, it's a nice, round number... but that's really it. We're obsessed with big, round numbers as a species, and I've never really gotten why. Every millenia people freak out and think the end of the world is nigh, and apparently every decade older we get we assume there will be some monumental change.
Numbers are constructs we've imposed on our world. We like the number ten because of how many fingers we have, and have given it arbitrary importance. Well, I don't care. I'm 29 years old, and next year I'll be 30. I'll proclaim it proudly too...
...as aging sure beats the alternative.