Tuesday, May 21, 2013

How long is an era? Probably about the time it'll take to read this post.

Dear 29,
It's the end of an era, assuming an era is a mere ten years. The end of your twenties is a weird thing. I don't think I realized just how different I was feeling about it until we're here, just 2 days before, feeling a surge of energy (in this case energy is defined as fear + anxiety + joy + motivation + hungryforbreakfast).
This is me at Senior Prom. Age 17. It's hard to believe that was 13 years ago.
PS we are all wearing dresses. Very important note to make. Clearly.
I don't remember my 20th birthday, at all, which is pretty odd for me. I'm sure it was important, you know no longer being a teenager, but I don't think I did anything too special. Strange. I love birthdays. I love birthdays more than any self-respecting 17 year old (seen above) should. I've been writing these lists for awhile, not quite an era, and this might be the year I crossed off the least amount of stuff. But you know what? SIMS.SINS. (Thanks, Kate, for teaching me this totally hip phrase. "Sorry I'm Not Sorry." Also thanks for correcting me on my terrible acronym)
Year 29 has been a hard one. I can't pin down a particular part of it that made it that way, but to be honest, it wasn't the kind of year where I wrapped it up a with a smiley summary. I hope I don't sound ungrateful, because there were so many incredible moments of pride in this finale year. So many. I think that this year felt so heavy because I really learned so much. And hot damn learning is hard.
They weren't the kind of life lessons that come with a great post about a sunburn on a Sunday where I ate beetles for the first time on a picnic blanket in a sea of lilac bushes (that didn't happen, but maybe "eat bugs" should be on list 30. I assume the life lesson would be don't eat beetles or be sure to wear sunscreen.) It wasn't a story kind of lesson learning, but rather the kind of learning that's hard to own up to. It was the kind of learning Mrs. Larry never really explained to me.

I learned that a new haircut can make a difference in your attitude, even if it is reminiscent of your hair in 1989 and takes a significant amount of patience and roundbrush technique to look as good as Michelle Obama's hair. I learned about backing up my computer, for the second time, and that photos matter, but facebook matters more (that's sort of a joke). I learned about what a real, grown up career transition feels like and how difficult it is to find your way, prove your worth and be the new kid. I learned about forgiveness and the kind of strength it takes to be secure and confident.
I learned about what a good fit feels like, to identify and recognize and maybe trust a gut feeling and just how important sincerity can be. I learned how much better the closer seats are at the Civic Center and that a good date matters. I learned how Saturdays of solitude can be perfection, but just how much fun a secret run to a bar called (embarrassingly) Whiskey Dix can be in the midst of a rainstorm even if you're probably to old for it. I learned that I'm stubborn and still don't like olives and look exactly like my mother did at 29.
I learned that your twenties are full of self discovery-- a topic no one really wants to talk much about, but something that is real and scary and trying, but brings out the complete best in you. I learned that everyone feels doubt and that admitting you need something or someone is necessary, because apparently the whole world can't read minds. I learned about art and about faith (in others, in yourself, in the world) and about growth and about friendship. I learned about giving and taking chances.
Ultimately my 29th year was about testing my strength. No, I didn't do a pull up. Frankly I didn't try. (I have a pretty significant frame for these frail arms to pull up above a bar. I joined the Y, yes, but I haven't spent a lot of time stress lifting. I have mostly been stress cooking. Which is a bit counter productive to pull up training.) I know the list feels unfinished, but, as cheesy as this may be, I don't feel undone.
(The Ocean Beach pier. Sigh)
Soon the list for 30 will be up. Soon I'll be writing posts on the NEW SITE that seems so professional. Soon 62% of my friends will have babies and I'll be living with a dude that isn't my dad. Soon I'll have to be sure my charitable giving is a documented deduction and I will be yet another person's boss. Soon 29 will seem a small blip on my life's radar.
That's my mom around age 29, not me. And my dad. And me, not a small boy.
But for now, I'll just look back on my twenties critically but fondly, knowing that bigger, and more joyful and more challenging moments lie ahead. For now I will be thankful for what I learned, for what you taught me and for what 29 meant. For now I'll celebrate the end of an era.


  1. You are fabulous. Here's to another wonderful 30 years!

  2. Thanks for the extremely beautiful read!