29: what I have learned so far

My 29th birthday - what I have learned so far

At 29 I realize…


That I am now working out to keep my body in basic working shape, instead of doing it just to feel and look better. If I don’t work out my back will hurt and my wrists will ache, and since my livelihood is dependent on my hands I need to suck it up and perform maintenance. I have exercises that were prescribed to me by a physical therapist and I no longer have a say in the matter. I feel kind of like an old car.


That all those years of not drinking, smoking, tanning and staying up late paid off. I have better skin than I did in my teens.


That it does get better. The older you get, the less fucks you give. If I were offered a chance to be 18 again, I’d turn it down. In fact, I’d pay good money to make sure I’d never have to be 18 again.


That it is perfectly fine to take an afternoon nap every once in a while.


That there’s nothing embarrassing about having your shit together. Funnily enough, my not being a chaos-loving hedonist has been a massive source of embarrassment in the past.


That after a life of looking older than my actual age, people now tell me I look younger. I do not know when it was that I actually looked my age, and I really hate the congratulatory tone in which they tell me that my god, you lucky girl, you don’t look 29 at all! Imagine having to look 29, what kind of hell on earth would that be, right? Like, if I actually looked 29 at 29, I might as well just go jump off a cliff! The horror! Psssh, get out of here with your bullshit.


That I have officially given up keeping up to date on new bands. If they didn’t exist when I was 25, I will only find out about them by accident.


That it takes time to form a habit, and that trying to implement five new habits into your life at once is setting yourself up for failure. Habits formed in 2014: reading regularly, staying away from my laptop most evenings, eating vitamins, meditation, cutting down on artificial sweeteners.


That you can’t do everything all at once. Even though you’re good at writing, and drawing, and photography, and blogging and graphic design, you can’t do it all professionally at once, at least not while being a sane human being with a partner and a dog and friends and real life commitments.


That not taking things personally makes life a hell of a lot better. It’s not always easy, but it is a good goal to have.


That I don’t actually dream of a walk-in closet.


That if your spouse or partner is also your best friend, you’ve struck gold.


That meditation isn’t just some new age mumbo-jumbo.


That life is too short to eat mediocre ice cream.


That it is really hard to write one of these lists without sounding like a Pinterest “life lessons” board barfed all over my blog.

27 thoughts on “29: what I have learned so far

  1. The last line made me laugh. Happy birthday! I really enjoy your blog. I tried Headspace because you recommended it and it’s been a good experience so far.

  2. Happy birthday, my dear! I hope you have a fantastic day (as a part of your fantastic got-your-shit-together life – high five on having your shit together!). I feel the same as you do on a lot of these topics, which is relevant, I guess, since I am also 29! I really like being my age, and I really am baffled about the cultural idea that I’m supposed to dread getting older (I am pretty sick of a culture that means so many of my female friends, who can be totally open-minded and well-read and socially aware and super-informed about societal issues, etc., still feel the need to act coy about their age or to feel embarrassed when they say how old they are), like the only thing that matters is how a person goes physically going “downhill” with time (particularly if the person is a woman, of course), as opposed to mentally and intellectually going uphill. I agree that there is no way in hell I would want to be 18 again – there were good things about my life when I was 18 and there were not-so-good things, but I think I would rather be proud of how much I’ve accomplished since then and how much I’ve developed as a person (and how, say, I’m no longer the crazy Coldplay fangirl I was when I was 18, who used to try to figure out how she could dress as similarly as Chris Martin as possible…)

    And oh man, I would pay someone to find some good new music for me. I’ve basically just got Franz Ferdinand on repeat and I have had them on repeat for many years because somewhere around 2008 I think I just lost the motivation to actively seek new music. I used to spend all night listening to new artists and whatever when I was an undergraduate (up until 6am listening to Audioscrobbler music previews or whatever it was I was using in like 2004), but man, ain’t nobody got time for that now (I’m too busy being a proper adult and trying to buy quality pieces of furniture, y’know).

    1. Thank you so much Jess! I had no idea we were the same age, I always figured you were older than me for some reason :)

      Hahaha, I’m like you, if left to my own devices I would just play The Mars Volta on repeat all day. Thankfully I listen to the radio in the morning and make Spotify playlists with the songs that I like. That’s my only injection of fresh musical blood. And 2004 was a good year for music, wasn’t it? I would hang out on music channels on IRC and download so-called “megapacks” of brand new albums. Then I would discover brand new bands before everyone else and feel smugly superior for months.

  3. Happy birthday beautiful lady! I love your list and whole-heartedly agree with every single item on it. And just so you know, your 30s are gonna be even better! Not to take anything away from glorious 29 of course, just saying.

    1. I totally believe you about the 30s, everyone I talk to says the same. Of course, they also tell me that I will gain 10 pounds overnight the second I turn 30, but I doubt that will happen to me as I never had that “young person metabolism” anyhow. Or am I being naive? :D

      1. No, I don’t think that’s true. I’ve got a pretty sluggish metabolism and have always been on the curvy side of the spectrum (putting it mildly) but I think in my 30s I’ve been in the best shape of my life. More aches and pains, definitely, but also more fit, and I think it has to do with new perspective on health and diet and exercise in general. Plus I’m guessing those legs will last you a long time!

        Also, forgot to mention, I love NPRs All Songs Considered podcast for finding new music. They cover all genres so there’s usually quite a bit I don’t like, but I also find a bunch of wonderful new artists that way too.

        1. That’s what I thought. I watch what I eat anyway (in the sense that I try not to junk out too much) so I’m sure it will be fine. I’ve never been that person who could go out and get drunk 3 days a week or eat ice cream whenever I want to and not gain weight, I will notice a difference if I have just a lazy week or two. Christmas is the worst, I literally grow Christmas boobs.

          And thanks for the podcast tip! I’m horrible with podcasts, I can’t even keep up with “Welcome to Night Vale” which is the only one I download, but I will keep All Songs Considered in mind!

  4. Happy birthday! There are many things from your list I agree with, about starting too many habits at once, trying to focus on too many activities or meditation and new age (or lack thereof). Enjoy your young skin and birthday party :)

  5. “That it does get better. The older you get, the less fucks you give. If I were offered a chance to be 18 again, I’d turn it down. In fact, I’d pay good money to make sure I’d never have to be 18 again.”

    This resonates with me. Every day is a chance to do better, and even if I might do poorly today, there’s always the lesson to learn for the future.

    Happy birthday and be well!

  6. Happy Birthday! I hope you got lots of loving kisses from Kanutten.

    And congratulations on discovering a more matured self – I’m still working on growing up :-)

    1. I did get tons of kisses from Kanutten, and tons of hugs from everyone else! I love birthdays, so much awkward hugging. Awkward hugging and cake.

  7. Happy Birthday !! How much ever good you are at 6 different things, you cant do them all. Best advice. I realized that this year too. Wish i knew that earlier. Wouldnt go back to 18 even if someone paid me. So many things i can relate to.

  8. Happy birthday! Yeah, 29 is good, and it just keeps getting better. Although the increased maintenance on the body doesn’t get less.

    And new bands? Buckley of keeping up with that. There’s already so much great music that I’m trying to catch up on!

    May your world be filled with great books, great friends and damn good food of all sorts.

    1. Thank you so much Erika! I’ve accepted that the bodily maintenance is now a permanent fixture in my life. It’s not the worst thing, after all, just time-consuming ;)

  9. I love this. Perfect! I needed this “advice”, and it’s really nice to see how you grow more mature and learn new things in life. I want to make a list of this myself when I get older.

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