Last Stop, Twenty-Nine
As many of you already know, I turn 29 in two days.
If you asked my dad how old he was when I was a little kid he'd always say, twenty-nine. In his mind, as well as the mind of many others, twenty-nine is the last of the great ages. You're still young, but you're also old enough to have a little wisdom under your belt. Also, your body usually hasn't the inevitable meeting with gravity yet. As Eddie Money would say, baby hold on to me.
Of course as we all have been told, 50 is the new 40 and 40 is the new 30 which makes 30 the new 20. The only people who say this though are those who are in the 30, 40 and 50 age groups. Anyone under twenty-five isn't buying it cause they think y'all are simply varying degrees of crotchety.
When I was a kid I too felt victim to this stereotype. I didn't think 30 was old, but I did think of it is an age that lived in a galaxy far, far away. I had friends whose moms were thirty after all and of course, if you were somebody's mom you HAD to be old!
When I reached twenty, I got to finally say I was twenty-something. Let's face it, twenty-something has such a nice ring to it. You can be twenty-something and be 20, or you could be twenty-something and be 29. That was your little secret. For just a little while longer though you are able to hang on to that younger demographic for dear life. My boyfriend's sister fully embraced this theory by asking for a "surprise" twenty-ninth birthday party in lieu of the big 3-0 party next year. After all, which one is really someone in the moment would want to celebrate? The last of the great ages or the "beginning of the end"?
I've never been one to fear growing old. But then again, I never really had anything to fear before because I'm NOT old. But then I sit down and think about how I'm knocking on the door of thirty and I realize I'm not ready to go in yet. Thirty still seems like its an age to describe someone else, not me. The good news being if you saw me, you wouldn't think I was twenty-nine. My students still insist I'm a high school student. If 90210 were still on the air, I'd blow Gabrielle Cateris out of the water. This is precisely why I don't mind revealing my age, because I don't look it.
But in little ways, I have been starting to panic. Sometimes I hear a song on the radio and think "what are kids listening to these days?!", or one of my students might tell me about the latest game everyone is playing and I have no idea what they are talking about. This freaks me out a bit. Age might be just a number, but out of touch is just plain unacceptable.
But then again, having some experience to draw from but potentially a lot of time left to put it use is exciting. Life doesn't end at thirty. If anything, I'd like to be 55 and over. They are the ones who get the kick ass resort type houses these days and don't need to work anymore.
Incidentally my dad has finally given up the firm grasp on twenty-nine. Now he settles for thirty-nine. Everyone has to renegociate at sometime.
Yet, for once in my life I understand what my dad was talking about. Twenty-nine isn't so bad, but I still know when to hold 'em.