Last Sunday I turned 29. I’m not sure how others generally feel about this particular birthday, but for me it wasn’t a huge shock. 27 was the one that hit me hard. That was when I started to feel almost-30 and OLD.
This year, I didn’t any feel older. Just more mature. 😀
My personal theme for 2016 is the Year of Maturity. It seemed fitting that it coincided with the last year of my twenties, and for some reason, it’s a theme I’ve been getting excited about.
(I’m aware it probably doesn’t sound exciting to most people. All I can say by way of explanation is that I was one of those kids who looked forward to being old, because then I would be wiser.)
Maturity can happen as a natural by-product of one’s life experiences. But it can also be actively chosen. Like when you choose to receive someone’s love based on the way they intended it, rather than on the way you are inclined to interpret it. That’s a choice.
Here’s another one I’ve been pondering lately: Knowing how and when to go after what you want and when to let go of what you want.
Taking initiative is one of those key life skills that does not come naturally to me. Especially when it comes to personal dreams. It can take a bit of energy to muster up the motivation to take myself and my ideas seriously. But not doing so robs both myself and the world. (Probably.)
Letting go is also difficult. Knowing when (and how) isn’t always intuitive. It’s easy to get attached to dreams, desires, and people. But sometimes it’s time to make way for the next thing that will come, that maybe you can’t even see yet. And that’s the hardest: when you can’t see ahead, when you don’t know what that next thing will be.
One of my special birthday moments was walking home by myself from dinner along the beach, looking out at the lights and the darkness of the ocean, remembering. Remembering gazing over the rooftops of Baltimore five years ago, wondering what was around the corner post-grad school. Remembering agreeing to come down to Busan two years ago, my heart full of expectation. Remembering my first few months in Korea, the wonder and the stretching of it.
I realized that stepping into new things requires both initiative and letting go, a leaving behind of the old to take hold of the new. And though the letting go can be painful, it has never brought me regret. Every step I’ve taken, whether it’s felt like a jump forward or a slide sideways, has all been part of the journey that has brought me here, and I wouldn’t change any of it even if I could.
Now, here I am, newly 29, intent on pursuing certain dreams, yet with an openness to my hands. As I embark on year 30, I find myself letting go of certain things to make room for what’s coming. I don’t know exactly what that is yet, but that’s the part that excites me the most.
Let the adventures continue!