Sunday, March 2, 2014

28 is great?

It feels a little silly to celebrate birthdays after18, right? Or maybe 16. I think 16 might be the pique of birthday greatness, and then it's all down hill from there. Perhaps society should take the Alcoholics Anonymous approach to birthday celebrations. Make a big deal about those first few years of sobriety/life, then start spreading it out. Chips for 25 years, 50 years, etc.

Or perhaps not. Because if I'm being totally honest, I like having one day a year when I feel no shame in eating a cupcake for breakfast, blowing off all responsibilities and going to lunch with friends, and splurging on a fun dinner out. Yes, every aspect of my birthday celebration revolves around food. And while I feel guilty for the added pressure one random day of the year places on family and friends, I am so grateful for the thought and consideration they put into making it my special random day. I'm especially grateful this year because I needed some distraction from the reality of turning one year old. I do not feel good about 28.

I remember last year saying, "I can't wait to get older so people will take me more seriously." But now I'm feeling older and realizing that people are going to start taking me more seriously. It's terrifying. I'm approaching 30 and I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up. Or maybe I'm not ready to accept that what I am as a grown up is not what I wanted to be when I grew up.

A couple years ago I sat down with a supervisor at work. He asked me what my career goals were. I told him I wanted to be a writer. He chuckled. Not because he's a mean-spirited man with any ill-intent, but because he's an adult living in the real world. To him hearing "I want to be a writer" is comparable to hearing "I want to sprout wings and fly."

Around that same time, Stephen and I were at lunch and eavesdropping on the two men at the table next to us. "I have to tell you about this short story I just wrote," said the man with the long hair to the man in the fedora, who I'm sure had no interest in listening. "It takes place in a coffee shop. The protagonist is a middle-aged blah blah blah pretentious nonsense blah blah blah." I saw my future and I felt sad. I did not want to be that guy. I did not want to be a writer.

But I want to write. I don't want to be a photographer, but I want to take pictures. I don't want to be a seamstress, but I want to sew. I don't want to be a master chef, but I want to cook.

Maybe getting older means changing ambitions from nouns to verbs.
Or maybe it means focusing on the descriptors that already apply to one's existence. Maybe at 28 I should just work on being a better mom. A better wife. A better employee. A better mormon. And maybe I should just keep writing, photographing, sewing, and cooking because maybe they'll make me better mom or wife or employee or mormon.

Or maybe not. Who knows. Do you know? No seriously. Do you? Help.


  1. Amen. Your post just summed up a big wad of feelings in my heart. Maybe it will all be more clear when we are thirty, flirty, and thriving?

  2. I love you, and this is really lovely.

  3. Just be MEG. I love Meg.

    It is strange getting older, isn't it? That's what I'm feeling these days. I'm coming to realize that I've reached the phase of adulthood. Just plain, long adulthood. Not youth or young adulthood, or fresh out of college adulthood. Like adulthood where the next step is being a senior. (What?!)

    At least that's what it feels like. What I am looking forward to, though, is having this long stretch of life ahead of me where I am slowly becoming what I want and need to be--because I don't exactly know either. It'll be a slow process. In the meantime, though, I'm most excited to watch and support the little lives in my life become people. And I think that'll be a whirlwind.


    1. Rachel, what a profound and beautiful comment. I'm so lucky to call someone so wise my friend.


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