This week I celebrated my 34th birthday, and for the first time in my life, I felt a little "meh" about it. Although I typically hate being the center of attention, my birthday has always been the exception. In the past, I've been known to throw elaborate parties for myself, relishing in the attention, having the best time being surrounded by all of my friends. I typically look forward to the onslaught of birthday messages on social media, to the little gifts from friends and family, to treating myself to some sort of over-the-top meal or decadent experience.
But this year...I just wasn't feeling it. Maybe it was because my birthday fell on a Monday (I think we can all agree that Monday is the worst day for a birthday), and I had to work all day and teach yoga in the evening, but I think it's more likely because, well...I'm getting older and this is kind of what happens, isn't it?
I felt a little bit of this when I turned 30 too. I always imagined that I would be the person who embraced aging and did so with poise and grace, and while I did have a fun time that year celebrating my milestone birthday with those near and dear to me, deep down I was in a bit of a panic watching my 20s slip away.
It's not that I'm not excited for what's to come or grateful for the gift of another year—I am, I truly am. It's just that...aging is wild, isn't it? You don't necessarily feel any older, you just are. And you look in the mirror and see yourself, but then all of the sudden—and it really did feel very sudden and startling for me, you see the visual proof that you are indeed 10 years older. There are wrinkles. And sneaky little grey hairs. And those extra few pounds that you've learned to get used to because losing weight somehow takes so much more effort now.
But of course this isn't the way that I want to approach aging, so I'm working on it. I'm working on loosening the tight grip that I have on my youth, allowing certain things to fall away so I can create space for the new. Working on embracing the things that I do love about my 30s (so much) and remembering what wasn't so wonderful about my 20s (there's plenty). Working on not buying into the media's obsession with youth and "anti-aging" (what an awful term). Working on focusing on what is gained with age rather than what is lost. Working on going with the current instead of fighting against it.
And some days I am good at this, some days I am not. I am still learning, with another year of experience under my belt. 🙏