I am 29 years old today. A fairly insignificant birthday in the grand scheme of birthdays.
There is a sort of hysteria when girls my age approach 30. A panic that our best years are behind us; ones without wrinkles or cellulite or stray gray hairs. Ones without fun or freedom or shots of tequila and great skin. I get it. I’ve bought into that drama. The jokes about no, no, no I’ll never be 30 and what, me? I’m 24! Forever!
It’s easy to do, but those jokes are boring and 30 isn’t old and for heaven’s sake my 20s weren’t exactly peaceful so maybe this next decade can be a little more about salads and taking my kids to the park and less about smoking weed behind a dairy queen with a food service worker.
Three years ago, Austin’s cousin Alicia took her own life when she was only 23 years old. I think about her on days like today. How she will never discover gray hairs or contemplate Botox or stare blindly at the skin care section at Target. How she will never find stretch marks or varicose veins or call up her friends and say, “I really need to start running.”
How she will never turn 30.
What I want to remember on my 29th birthday is that getting older is a privilege. That aging and sun spots and big ol’ crow’s feet are all signs of living. Of a life well lived.
Today I am thankful. I am thankful for my two meatball children and kind, giraffe sized husband. I am thankful for friends and family and the frozen pizza I’m about to eat at 11:15 in the morning. Mostly I am thankful for smart women. Women who have paved the way by embracing their aging bodies and sagging boobs by being funny and smart and kind. That is the kind of woman I hope to be.
Cheers to another year of life.