Yesterday I turned twenty-nine. I’ve been thinking about this birthday a lot, and trying to come to terms with where I am in my life right now, versus where I might have loosely imagined I’d be when I turned twenty. I remember feeling anxious about twenty. I had just decided not to become a doctor, and so many things were unknown. It was exciting, but scary, too. And twenty, well, twenty marked the beginning of what then seemed like the decade that would determine so much of what my life would be: graduation, the start of a career, a family? The idea that this would be the decade for all of those things weighed heavily on me.

And now? Well, I have to admit, I thought I was beyond thinking about these kinds of expectations for myself, but this birthday has brought a lot of those thoughts back. Intellectually, I am quite comfortable saying out loud that I am happy with the decisions I’ve made, and the unexpected places they’ve taken me. Emotionally, though, I think it is okay to acknowledge that maybe I’m not where I thought I’d be at twenty-nine, at least in the non-academic parts of my life, and that I’m a little bit sad about that. And that’s okay. I no longer feel like my twenties will determine my future, and I have a much stronger sense of myself than I did at twenty.

So Boh and I celebrated quietly yesterday, with an extra-long frolic in the snow, and dumplings. This is the kind of meal I rarely prepare for myself — it is a lot of work for just me. But yesterday, I decided that I would give myself extra time in the kitchen, instead of putting something to simmer on the stove so that I could continue to read. (And I’ve got leftovers for tonight.) I’m sure I’ll do some celebrating with friends this weekend, but yesterday was what I needed. I crossed some things off of my to-do list, indulged a bit in the kitchen and outside, and knit a few more rows on my terra shawl.

Here’s to twenty-nine.


28 thoughts on “twenty-nine.

  1. Happy birthday, sweet Rooster! I know what you mean about reflective birthdays. From what I can tell it looks like you’ve accomplished quite a lot in your third decade.

  2. I am about to turn 28 and I share many of the same feelings that you do. Thank you for sharing so openly, it was helpful to me. Having just returned to school, my own life is scary/exciting right now, and definitely not where I thought I’d be when I was twenty. But it’s amazing to be where I am, I have to say.
    Happy birthday!

  3. happy birthday! this is the year i turn 29 as well, and yes. how long ago 20 feels. like many lifetimes ago.

    best to you and boh

  4. Happy Birthday to you! Cheers to you & intentional living, whether or not the present intentions are the same as those of the past.

  5. Happy birthday, dear rooster. 29 looks good on you, and don’t you forget it! I’m glad you treated yourself to dumplings, you deserve them. Enjoy your weekend!

  6. Happy Birthday!! Glad you had an enjoyable celebration! Life rarely turns out exactly as we plan/hope but as you have a positive attitude, all will be well.

  7. Happy late birthday! Paul feeling slightly melancholy about his 29th next week too. I feel like so many of my friends are in their 30s (and didn’t find a partner, get a “real” job, etc) until then that I feel pretty okay about approaching that number.

  8. I turned 29 a lot of years ago and remember feeling just the same as you do now. Things work out in their own time. But it took me a while.

    Happy birthday!

  9. Happy Birthday! Sometimes quiet reflection, as well as dumplings, are necessary. Also, it’s okay to mourn for the person you thought you’d be and life you thought you’d have years ago. It’s totally naturally to feel a little sad when you think of your past expectations and life has turned out differently. I’m glad, though, that you are who you are right now, because I think you’re awesome!

  10. I enjoy reading your blog and can identify in many ways – with post especially. Thanks for sharing. Also, go kick 29’s @#*. :)

  11. Mick nailed it on the head! Took the words right out of my mouth.

    Happy Birthday again! :-)

    Oh and what’s on your needles? It looks wonderfully squishy and warm.

  12. Happy birthday! I hope it was just the kind of day you wanted it to be … but can a day with dumplings really turn out less than fabulous? Be kind to yourself, this version of 29 seems pretty darn awesome. (And you’re totally still going to be a doctor, just not that kind of doctor.)

  13. I found all those expectations I had of myself where I was going to be and when were expectations I thought I had to have….but truly, at 44, I found most of my growing happened once I left my 20s… It’s all a journey, destination unknown.

    I just choose Happy and it suits me fine.
    Birthdays are to celebrate life, not to mourn shoulda, woulda, coulda’s!

    Eat more dumplings!

  14. Happy belated birthday! Birthdays seem to be a good time to reflect. I’ve got a big one coming up, and I’ve been thinking that it seems like I was just 20. Life goes by in a blur sometimes, doesn’t it?

  15. Happy belated birthday! Nearing the close of a decade, I think it’s completely natural to feel a little melancholy and reflective when one turns 29. I know I sure did. Mick’s comment was so perfect (and actually made me tear up a little bit) and I agree that you turned out pretty awesome!

  16. Happy Belated Birthday!! I had this reflection in reverse on my last birthday (and sometimes have it in between) Sometimes I am a little sad for that girl who thought she had it all figured out and ended up on a trajectory that was totally different from what I really wanted (when I finally figured out WHAT I wanted!). I sometimes feel I would be so much further along if I’d had it together earlier. Your words here – “I no longer feel like my twenties will determine my future, and I have a much stronger sense of myself than I did at twenty.” are so perfect.

    I’m so happy you made dumplings for yourself – and made sure to celebrate along with your reflection – you have accomplished an awful lot in life & academics, and it is terribly impressive (and has been wonderful to watch, too!) xoxo

  17. Happy birthday! those dumplings look delicious.

    i just turned 27 a few months back and was -still am- definitely not where I thought I’d be either. And I am totally with you on the intellectual/emotional ok-ness. And I think that’s fine. Life changes, but dumplings will always be delicious. This I know to be true.

    Hope you have a great year!

  18. You had a nice birthday. You’re right where you should be, with Boh with beside you. The future is unknown to us. Choices and decisions today are the best any of us can do. Put it all, in God’s hands. He leads. He alone knows what tomorrow brings. Pray to follow along that narrow path and every year you will see a more beautiful view. Every day, every year and every birthday, is a blessing. Cheers!

  19. Happy, happy birthday! I hope your whole birthday week is filled with good things. Life isn’t what we expect, is it? It seems especially the case when you’re willing to take risks.

  20. Happy Birthday! Sounds like you and Boh had a great day. I love that you spent extra time for you. I have to agree, a day with dumplings cannot be anything but great! I am 42 and my life and growth began in my 30’s. There is definitely something special about the 30’s and the knowledge and comfort those years bring. Happy happy birthday i hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  21. Happy Birthday! Sorry so late, but I am 440 blog posts behind!! Hope you had a great day and enjoyed your weekend frolicing!!

  22. Happy belated birthday love! It is so odd to look back and think how young 29 seems to me (i’m 38) but at that same time I still feel 29. :) They key is to look back and think of all the amazing things you have already done in your 20’s! You are a home owner!! I hope you enjoyed your day. Dumpling are my ultimate favorite, after a perfect crispy and greast eggroll. Good for you for treating yourself.

  23. sounds like a perfect way to spend a day…
    my upcoming 33 is finding me more than a little anxious and reflective. here’s to coming through the other side of the birthday blues with peace in our hearts. and dumplings!

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