I have to admit that when I turned 20, then 25, then 30 it felt like so little time had passed and yet so much that I still often feel out of place in my mind and body.I think as we get older it gets harder to reconcile the passage of time with the number on a birthday cake. Some days I’m still that nerdy 18 year old infatuated with movies, long summer nights and driving with the top down. In some ways I am still that person. Other days I feel every bit of my 34 years and then some.
I have friends in the early 20’s and friends nearing their 40’s and while all bring different life experiences to the table we all manage to exist (for the most part) harmoniously. So it’s a unique kind of flexible time for growth and friendship that doesn’t quite exist at any other part of your life. (Though that might be my naivety talking.)
At the same time however, sitting on this cusp of being 34… creeping closer to 35 I can’t help but notice what a strange kind of dissonance washes over me when I think about how my life is different now in my mid-3o’s than it was just a handful of years ago. I know people my age who have teenagers just a stone’s throw from being high school graduates. I know people my age who have bitty small ones just learning to walk or talk. I know people my age living care free. I know people my age tied to a desk. I know people married for nearly a decade. I know people divorced once or twice over. I know people who are are more fit than they’ve ever been. I know people who have been diagnosed with cancer. I know people my age who have died sooner than anyone deserves.
And it’s now more than ever that an eerie kind of nervousness gets to me. I could die tomorrow or I could live another 34 years times two.
We don’t have forever. We never did, but it feels more real now, more urgent and pressing the way a deadline is looming just ahead, but not quite close enough to cause a panic yet. Just a sensation of needing to do more, see more, be more.
I am at a point where I thought a peaceful kind of calm and acceptance would surround me. I thought that I would feel more of an urge to settle and be stationary, but perhaps it’s just in my nature to always be restless. I want both a security of a home and warmth and closeness of people I care about around me. I also want to keep exploring and finding new experiences. So I feel I exist in a space where both these things don’t quite conflict with each other but also doesn’t quite coincide either.
It’s like being a map that’s been folded and taped up too many times. You can still get to your destination but sometimes it’s harder to read the way because of the creases that won’t quite flatten out anymore.