On turning 29

It’s approximately 6 hours before the clock strikes midnight and I turn 29. I’m sitting on the oldest (and comfiest) couch in my house writing this impromptu blog post because I drank a chai tea latte laden with sweeteners. The caffeine and sugar are bound to keep me up, so I need to tire out my brain.

I can’t believe I’m turning 29 (not that I mind, I just can’t believe it). When I was 17, I didn’t think I’d live past 25. Don’t worry. I am not terminally ill, I just couldn’t imagine what I would be like at 25. Fast forward a few years, and I’m on the cusp of 30 (ala 13 Going on 30).

28 hasn’t been the best year of my life. I don’t think I’ll remember it fondly at all. But I believe there is always something to take away from any experience (crappy or wonderful). So let me try to come up with 28 things I learned this year. I may or may not expound (28 is a lot).

  1. I’m a major introvert, but I need to work with people. I thought working from home would be my dream come true. Guess not.
  2. I’ve stopped counting my age. I rarely remembered that I was 28. In fact, I thought I was 29!
  3. You make time for the things you love.
  4. My heart rate sucks. I really need to exercise more.
  5. You can earn more and still feel like it isn’t enough. Inflation sucks.
  6. Dogs are truly the best things on this planet.
  7. I put unnecessary pressure on myself (and I suffer a lot because of it).
  8. Being open and honest eases a lot of the burden. Just talk to someone.
  9. Making fluffy foam for my chai tea latte is a skill.
  10. My friends are low maintenance (and I appreciate that so much).
  11. When it rains, it pours (especially for freelance projects).
  12. I enjoy solo traveling more.
  13. I love kids, but I don’t want to have any. If ever, I’ll adopt. Overpopulation is real.
  14. My photography (and drawing skills haha) have gotten better.
  15. Still can’t draw a straight line though.
  16. Tuna, mayo, and rice do go well together!
  17. Work for an organization that values its people.
  18. Consistency is key. I need to be better at it.
  19. It’s confirmed. I’m stubborn. Nobody can force me to do what I don’t want to do.
  20. When traveling to cold countries, I need at least two layers of thermals, socks, jeans, 4 top layers, a scarf (or two) and gloves.
  21. High school characters annoy me now. Children’s lit > YA lit in my book.
  22. Cleaning and purging make my life brighter.
  23. A good dental hygiene routine is the secret to happiness. Floss, people.
  24. Encouraging others makes me happy.
  25. I have 33 tin cans in my collection (this is after getting rid of several the other day).
  26. Life would be boring if it didn’t have kilig moments.
  27. I cry a lot. That is not an exaggeration. Happy, sad, you name it. I probably have overactive tear ducts.
  28. Life is unfortunate at times, and it’s okay to feel down, but you just have to keep going.

Phew. Didn’t think I’d make it to 28. I stalled at 22 for a good 30 minutes.

28 has literally been a year of change and adjustment for me. I switched jobs, started the process of establishing a business, experienced my lowest low, and had (another) quarter life crisis. Year after year, I wonder when it will ever “get better”. The truth is (and this is something I accepted only this year), it will always be a rollercoaster. I’m sure I knew this deep down, but I never wanted it to be true.

I’m still in the process of learning to not compare myself to others (another lesson I know but have difficulty practicing). We all have our own paths and paces (mine is particularly slow thanks to my crappy heart rate). A few days ago, I watched Jim Chapman talking about his mental health. He said it was easier for him to manage it in school because there was a clear path laid out for him. When he started working, it was a different story and he felt stuck in a rut.

I think many people feel that way, but 28 was the year I set my sights on a clear goal of what I wanted and envisioned for myself. It hasn’t gone at all how I planned, but the experience has taught me that baby steps forward are the way to go. Little by little, I’ll get there somehow. Maybe I’ll fall into a giant hole sometimes, but with the help of my friends and family, I’ll find a way to pull myself out. Life isn’t a race (repeats to self 100x).

I am looking forward to what 29 has in store for me. I’m not going to make any resolutions or promises to myself. Let’s just roll with the punches, seize opportunities, and enjoy the last year of my 20s.

P.S. Do you like my cake drawing? I think it’s my finest work yet hahaha