I celebrated a birthday recently, and unlike the way that you hope they’ll be when you’re a child, birthdays have a tendency to become anticlimactic as you get older. Sure, you now have to add one to the previous age you said when telling your age, but you feel like your same self. I feel like my same self. There may have been significant changes in my life in the last few years, but very few of those have to do with how old I am, and more to do with where I am in my life and what’s happening. Did I know I would be in a long-term relationship with a man with children? That we would buy a house together? Take big trips together? Did I think I would change jobs? Move every year for 4 years? Gain a brother and sister-in-law, a nephew and a niece?
Nope. That stuff just happens. It’s not surprising, but it was probably going to happen at some point. But on my birthday, I got a text from one of my girlfriends, and towards the end, she told me to “enjoy your jesus year”. We laughed over that term. I said the year would be amazing, I would throw a huge tantrum and then get in trouble at the end. I told her to watch her local news, and she said “no death though” and “trouble is good”. I said I’d do my best, and then laughed in the text, and that was it.
But it turns out the Jesus Year is kind of a thing on the internet. Heck – Urban Dictionary (which I’m not going to link to, because that way lies trouble) has a fantastic definition which you can see here.
Because yes – I’m 33, and while a lot has happened to me personally, there’s still a lot of stuff I need to get done. There’s furniture that needs to be put back together after the move (from the spring!), rooms to be organized, things to make. But I’m not sure that’s what “get things done” means – it’s probably not about cleaning out the shed or finally organizing where things go in the kitchen. I think the things that need to get done in my life are those that require a tough conversation. And perhaps 33 is the perfect time to have those conversations – I’m not old-old yet, but I am getting to the point where I need to make tough decisions for my life in the future. There is no easy time to sit down with yourself, your partner, your family and to have these conversations. But now is probably the time.
Do I want to get married and have kids? Do I want to pursue another degree? What are my career goals? How do my goals tie in with the Boy’s? Am I making the most of my retirement savings? What is going on with my parents and retirement? Do they have necessary legal documents in order? Do I need to start thinking about getting “necessary legal documents” in order?
These are the joys of getting older. No longer is having a birthday all about that party and presents. It’s about gathering your party (of people) and establishing your presence in the world. I’m not sure what this year will bring for me. I’m not sure how these difficult conversations will go. But they’re important to have, so I can’t back down. I’m not old yet, but I’m older, and I can do it.