I celebrated my 29th birthday last month, and surprisingly, I felt okay about it.
Compared to my birthday last year, where I was worried and anxious that I hadn’t done enough for my age, I feel a lot more content this year. Career-wise, it feels like I’m on the right track, and I’ve finally got a grip on building a life in Sweden. In many ways, this year is so much better than the last. I’m more confident, and I’m in a good place in my life.
This year also saw me making peace with myself, and parts of it that I thought were ‘terrible’ before. Yes, I’m stubborn, impatient, and too straightforward. But this stubbornness has given me the drive and persistence that I didn’t know I needed for my career and myself. My impatience keeps me going, and I make things happen because I just cannot wait. I finally see the two sides of the coin — these flaws are also my strengths, and I no longer curse myself for those.
But as I’ve been working on improving some areas in my life, some things are slipping away, like relationships with friends and family. There’s a sense of loss that’s been gnawing inside me as I feel the distance between us is getting bigger day by day, and I’m struggling to restore the closeness and familiarity that were once so effortless. This is something that I will work hard on; the people I love.
Another thing is, as I’ve been more settled and fallen into a routine, I feel a longing for the carefree feeling the younger me had. I was a lot more naive back then, but also a lot more adventurous and fearless (borderline careless, if I’m being totally honest). I did impulsive trips and bold moves, I felt things intensely, and I wrote things that mostly came from the heart; raw, unpolished, but also beautiful.
This realization hit me during the John Mayer concert last month. As I listened to him singing the anthems of my youth, all the nostalgic moments rushed through my head, and with that, the intense feelings I had all those years ago when I first listened to those songs. And I thought, God, I can’t remember the last time I felt something so deeply, so moving, so euphoric like this. I found that as things are settled, so are feelings. There’s no highest highs and lowest lows, just contentment. It’s not a bad thing at all, but sometimes I wonder if those intense feelings are something in the past, and if this is a natural process as I progress and settle into life as an adult.
One month of being 29, eleven months away from turning 30. I wonder how next year will look like.