29

Wednesday, I turned 29.IMG_7893As a little girl, I would constantly dream up what being an adult would look like. Usually I resembled a Babysitters Club member, but nevertheless… I thought about my career, who my friends would be, how my parents would live forever and ever, and how I wanted to always be loved and surrounded by people I cared about.

I never really put a number on it though.16 might as well have been age 30. I didn’t know any better – grown up just seemed GROWN UP. A steady state you just sort of took on one day at a magic moment, where your ponytails always looked perfect and you could hang out past 10pm on a week night.

And then suddenly, I found myself a week out from turning the last age in my twenties. A decade that has been punctuated by education and best friends and heartbreak, bookended by moves cross-country. And suddenly, I realized I was terrified.

Never in a million years did I think I, of all people, would be nervous about turning 29. I mean, what’s age, right? Nothing but a number. But the thoughts started piling up – of the things I had done, that I hadn’t finished, that I hadn’t started. And more so, what was missing, or that I had assumed I’d already have had by the time I was such a grown-up, nearly 30 years old.

I think, without ever voicing it consciously, I had assumed I would be sure by now…. of everything. I’d have the concrete career path, and that marriage thing that I had honestly never given much thought about, well it would have just already happened. To be standing on the edge of a decade of life and growth and realize I was still growing and learning and figuring s*** out…. surreal.

All my favorite song lyrics personified, and amplified by 1,000.

Let’s be real – I didn’t expect to be 29 and single, Beyonce style, or still feeling the need to dip my toes into multiple career pools to see where my passion fit best. Or, ya know, having yet to publish the next New York Times bestseller.

So many enormous visions of my life and expectations that I didn’t even realize I possessed,  tucked so far down into my heart that it took a flippin’ birthday to pull them out. Who knew, huh?

It’s a little absurd, in my opinion, to boil your whole life down into one age, as if 30 is a finish line and you’ve got to wrap up everything un-done into a tight little bow by the time it hits 11:59pm on the last day you’re 29. I’m not a fan of “30 before 30” lists for that exact reason. There’s no time limit! So what was I getting all flustered for?

I love birthdays – yours and mine – in an obnoxious way, because I love celebrating life. Can you think of anything better? And birthdays are synonymous with growth. Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaan, I have GROWN in these last 28 years. No doubt about it, and for that I’m so grateful. It wasn’t until literally the night before my birthday this week when I received a text from my mom, letting me know that at that exact time 29 years ago, she’d been reading a baby book panicked herself because her water had broken and she wasn’t sure if that meant she and my dad really had to go to the hospital yet, that the fear finally broke. Something quietly switched inside me, and I woke up the next morning ready to own age 29, and whatever it might throw my way. And gosh, am I curious what’s next!

I’ve been a lucky gal, but I’ve also worked my booty off… and I’m ready for more goodness to float in. I am so incredibly thankful for all the people in my life, and all the experiences I’ve been blessed to have – this last year and really my entire life so far. I know – corny as all get out, but I’m throwing down the birthday card here, okay? My 20s have been ridiculous in terms of amazing highs and a few heart-aching  lows, and probably yours have as well. But the good has far outweighed bad….The good always wins.

And so, fresh into this next trip around the sun, I’ll leave you with the main thing I’ve learned in these last 28 years: BELIEVE. In yourself, in others, in love, in life. Believe it, and it will happen.

Cheers for what my 29th year has in store, and happy Friday! xo

10 Comments on 29

  1. Amber
    August 28, 2015 at 4:59 AM (2 years ago)

    Happy Birthday! I’m turning 29 on Monday too! And my sister’s bday is today, August is a great bday month!

    Sometimes turning older makes me a little nervous, but then I remember I’m not living in my parents basement, I’m not working at a fast food joint, I’m not defaulting on my student loans… I’m doing ok 🙂

    Have a great weekend!

    Reply
    • joelle
      August 31, 2015 at 8:21 PM (2 years ago)

      Happy birthday! August is the best birthday month, for sure. 😉 Hope your day is great too!

      Reply
  2. Amanda
    August 28, 2015 at 9:02 AM (2 years ago)

    I am very jealous that you turned 29. I’m turning 30 in December and I’m feeling the same way as you except maybe more so bc im also in a shit ton of debt. You’re lucky bc you still have a full year in your 20s!!!

    Reply
    • joelle
      August 31, 2015 at 8:19 PM (2 years ago)

      Love the perspective! I hear 30 is amazing, btw. 😉

      Reply
  3. LTDfo'Lyfe!
    August 28, 2015 at 9:51 AM (2 years ago)

    Happy happy bday friend! We are always “growing up”, always learning… I mean, how boring would life get if that just stopped all the sudden?! Hah! Keep learning, keep growing, and enjoy the surprising ride that it is!

    Reply
    • joelle
      August 31, 2015 at 8:20 PM (2 years ago)

      Haha heck ya – NO STOPPING!

      Reply
  4. allie@sweetpotatobites
    August 28, 2015 at 12:31 PM (2 years ago)

    Remember the good ol’ days when you were excited to turn a year older (hah)?

    I think good things are in store for your 29. I can feel it.

    Reply
    • joelle
      August 31, 2015 at 8:19 PM (2 years ago)

      Thanks doll! Good vibes. xo

      Reply
  5. Jess
    August 29, 2015 at 8:08 AM (2 years ago)

    (I am always so moved by your beautiful writing. Get on that novel, I will buy a million copies and top of the best seller list you will go!)

    I don’t think we ever have it completely figured out. Very few people do, despite what society might want you to believe. While that can be scary, it is also the exciting part! You have so many things to look forward in the years to come. You are exactly where you need to be. I am excited to see what life has in store for you!

    Reply
    • joelle
      August 31, 2015 at 8:20 PM (2 years ago)

      Love you to pieces!

      Reply

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