Monday, January 04, 2010

The Big 3-4

I'm writing this post on the eve of my thirty-fourth birthday, though you're likely reading it after the day has arrived.

This birthday is not going down easily. It tastes bitter and acidic.

When I turned 30, I thought I had come to terms with getting older. It wasn't that big of a deal, I thought. Then again, I actually remember 29 being pretty difficult to swallow. Which I suppose is accurate in light of this year's birthday reaction. I seem to be more affected by the year leading up to the "big ones" than I am by the big ones themselves.

It's kind of like being at an amusement park and waiting in line for the scariest ride. The whole time you're in line the anticipation and anxiety builds, your stomach flip-flops, and your palms sweat. Your heart races as they harness you into your seat. The ride starts and you feel light-headed.

But then you laugh.

And scream.

And raise your hands with abandon.

And when it's all over, you say, "Well that wasn't so bad now, was it? It was actually kind of fun." Yet the next time you go to an amusement park and get in line for that ride, your body reacts the same way. Your mind can't override the anxiety with the reality that it's never as bad as we think it will be.

That's where I am now. In line, anticipating the arrival of 35 and all the turbulence, flips, and vertical drops of possible failures, disappointments, and age-related defects that I might experience when I get there.

Let's hope a year from now I can say, "Well that wasn't so bad now, was it?"


Karina said...

I love this post. LOVE IT! Not only is it incredibly well written (cus it is), but I totally identify with it. As we discussed on Twitter, 29 was rough for me, 30 a breeze. I didn't really have a hard time with 34 though. 35 is looming a few months away though, and I'm kind of divided. Excited and freaked all at once. I too hope I can just say "well, that wasn't so bad after all". And, as I do after every amusement park ride "let's do it again!" Lol

Dave said...

Happy birthday -- and don't depair. There are plenty of adventures, and good times, left. take it from someone who started blogging and tweeting in his mid-50s. Have a great day.

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

I think the antidote is to do something cool and good fun for you at 35. I'm coping by taking a trip to Paris in May. Just being able to say that I will be in Paris on my 35th birthday cheers me up immensely.

Also, millions of people have turned 34, and older, and made it through just fine. It's your choice what to make of it and do in your 35th year. Go for awesome.

Kerri O said...

That's funny. 30 was my freak out year. Since then I have managed to completely block out my age. In fact, my 6 year old asked me the other day how old I was and I said 34, no wait, 33? Had to add it up. And, yes 33. So, I advocate complete denial. Much more fun.

Ami said...

Cate - I did that for my 30th, so I'll likely do the same for 35. Maybe not Paris, but something big and fun! And you're right, it's my choice what I do with my year. I choose to make it something to be proud of.

Kat - If all else fails, denial works just fine. :)

Thanks for the great comments everyone! It was a wonderful day and I'm doing fine in the aftermath of it all. It really was that darned anticipation that had me all worked up...

Ami said...

Karina - Thank you for the compliment. I appreciate it. And thank you for relating. Sometimes that's all a girl needs is someone to tell her she's not alone. :)

Dave - I believe you. I think my best years are yet to come!

Unknown said...


You're not alone. I just turned 33 a few months ago so I'm sort of in-between, but I'm sure when I hit 34I'll be thinking similar thoughts. I hope you were able to let go of some of this to enjoy your day. I've been thinking about you! Happy Belated Birthday!

Linda said...

We're the same age. I turned 34 a few days after you did.
Hope this is an exciting year!

Melanie said...

I'm turning 35 in the Spring. I try not to think about it, because it feels like a VERY big number to me.

Anonymous said...

I had my 34th birthday in October. It really didn't affect me at first. Now all I can think about is that I'm going to be 35 next year. 35!! Mostly I am just really angry at myself because I haven't reached the goals I had set for myself. I worry that I'm trying to overcompensate now and am going to burn myself out.

Daniel Dragomirescu said...

Interesting blog. With all means, go ahead.
Daniel D. PEACEMAN, writer and editor of Contemporary Horizon Magazine

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