I don’t know how I am 28 years old.
I mean, I know why. I’ve been alive for 28 years. I’m not unfamiliar with the process of aging.
But it feels like just yesterday I was 24, and fretting about entering my mid-20s, and how old it will make me feel. And then, in the blink of an eye, here I am. Well past my mid-20s, staring 30 right in the eye.
It’s certainly not a bad thing. Life is all about perspective. In five years from now, I’ll wish I was 28 again. And any 40- or 50-year-old today wold love to relive their 30s.
I know people like to say “age is just a number,” but it’s not. Your age is of direct significance to who you are.
It’s the number of years you’ve spent exploring life, gaining wisdom from your successes and failures, your highs and your lows. Your age tells us what you’ve lived through, the overarching cultural events that have defined the world around you.
Your age is who you are. And there are certain things you can do at one age that aren’t viewed as socially acceptable at another. And that’s the process of coming to grips with growing old, and sometimes, it’s what makes it so hard.
Everyone probably remembers the day they turned 30 and the emotions that came with it. Like me, they probably wondered how the years flew by as fast as they did.
But lamenting about aging is easy. The real challenge is to embrace each year with a sense of zeal for the new opportunities they bring.
I guess what I’ve come to realize is that life goes by in a blur. But the big question is whether that’s because you let it pass you by, in a haze, sleepwalking from day to day — or if you really lived.
And who knows. Maybe you won’t even be able to answer that question until way into the future. Perhaps not even until you’re on your death bed.
I’m still trying to figure out what exactly happened to my 20s. I entered this decade of my life as an exuberant youth, just waiting for the next party. I was oblivious to much of the world and what it had to offer.
I was playing beer pong in the basement of a decrepit dive bar the night Barack Obama was elected president. And now, I’m in my sixth year as a professional in the working world.
Maybe we’re not supposed to try and make sense of it all, or figure out exactly how we got from here to there. At least not yet.
Because when you do that, you miss the Now.
Live life first. Ask questions later. It’s OK to dwell on your age. But what you should not do is block it out completely or wear it with shame. Because whether you like it or not, it’s going to follow you around where you go.
And you know what?
Let it come along for the ride.