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This is 29

Today is my 29th birthday: a brutal age for a woman. It’s the year she becomes stuck in time. “It’s my 29th birthday… again!” She’ll joke for the rest of her life. It’s the year that society rips youth from women. But I tell you what, they can have it.

My 20s were spent hustling, quantified by the number of 60 hour work weeks I took on just to pay for groceries. Or by the number of therapy sessions I went to because my anxiety was so high that it’d stop me from driving or leaving my house. Or by the number of times I had to start over, digging to my core to reveal some inner truth in order to continue to survive, a truth that always seemed to rock my whole damn world.

And now, at 29, I’m finally allowing myself to just exist in my imperfectness. I’m letting go of the goals I thought I needed in order to stay motivated, whatever that means, and I’m not replacing them with anything.

I wanted to do so many things by the time I was 30: pay off my student debt, get married, buy a house, publish a book… at times I truly thought I’d be dead by 30, so I’d better race to get it all done.

And I have done some of those things. But don’t give me a gold star for it. Because the biggest takeaway from my 20s is that all of those things happened or will happen in their own time, at the right time. Yes, hard work pays off, but you know what else pays off? Wisdom. Grace. Patience. Sometimes what it takes is sitting in the mess and not rushing to clean it up. Sometimes healing comes from doing nothing at all.

So my new “goal” is to be gentle. To exist in discomfort and pain. To embody the person I want to be by just being her. To recognize that I have the capacity to fully experience whatever life brings me. To walk into 30, into the long life ahead of me, as my fully authentic and imperfect self.


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