I know I keep alluding to this whole "29" thing in my posts as of late (I'm not referring to 29er mt bikes, all you like-minded geeks out there--this happens to be the actual age of 29), which since I'm still 29, I have every right to do. If I were 30, or 28, and constantly hammering on the topic, you would have every right to delete my blog from your favorites tab (ahem that's where it lives, right?). I digress. Let me return.
Twenty nine is a lifestage, a typical dark period where otherwise happy-g0-lucky twenty-somethings suddenly find themselves in a fast tailspin going "holy shit! holy shit! holy shit!" A seemingly normal decade is bookended by a year where you decide you're a failure, your life has amounted to nothing, and basically, your good years are behind you, so really, what's there to look forward to? You remember, quite fondly, those early years in your twenties when you actually believed you showed potential and wouldn't end up back in your hometown pregnant and living in a trailer. You believed in yourself back then, and you sometimes even caught yourself thinking you had brains and talent.
Now, 29. You've become deluded by the cost/trade off of a career for a fairly boring existence. The drudgery of life has opened its door and you find yourself inside and unable to see forward or backward. Suddenly the thought of making more money has no appeal to you because you realize you'll just end up buying things you have no time to enjoy. Mostly, at 29, you are forced to confront questions and choices: Do you know what your priorities are, and if you discover them, will you follow?
Now, I realize, I can be quite self-centered, and rightly so at this stage of my life--I have no husband, no kids, no big responsibilities. I relish in my "me" universe. I assure you, though, this Crisis of '29 is not just unique to me, born out of a self-identity crisis from a person who's too absorbed-in-self. Anecdotally, it's TOTALLY TRUE. Lately, I've been informally polling all of my 29-year-old friends, and sure enough! They're all going through very similar "what the F#*& ??" moments right now. We're all questioning, examining, and mostly, wading through it.
At the beginning of this lovely year (on my calendar, that was last July), I had no clue what I wanted. I thought staying on the same career path and living in a warm climate would hold the secrets to my happiness. So I moved to Orange County because it satisfied both of the above and waited. And waited. And cried, a lot. And basically, over the course of this year here, I've gotten up close and personal with my priorities.
What I've learned at 29
1. Where you live matters.
2. Home is a real place now. Live in a place where you have a history and friends. Don't be arbitrary or take this choice lightly.
3. Money is not as important as freedom. Make enough to be comfortable, but ideally, find a job that affords you intellectual stimulation and freedom.
4. You're no longer as flexible as you were at 25. That's a good thing. You're at that point in your life where you don't have to be a gypsy. You're not a failure if you live where you're most comfortable. Nor does that make you dull. See # 2 above.
5. At this point, you should have accomplished enough in your job to where you can make better demands about how you work. You're no longer a minion. Embrace it and ask wisely.
6. Be grateful and appreciative, even though it seems like things aren't going to turn around. They will. Be grateful and appreciative.
7. Find a coping strategy to get you through the dark days. Poetry is one lovely option. Find a way to creatively express yourself.
8. Give yourself more credit than you deserve. Don't believe everything your head tells you.
In other news, Cancellara: YOU'RE A GOD. Paris Roubaix and Flanders?