29.

Yesterday was my birthday — the final year of my 20s has finally arrived.

During my five (ten, tops) minutes of self-reflection, I had a brief moment of panic: holy shit — in ten years I’m going to be 39 — one year shy of 40. That immediately led me full circle to: holy shit — think of what I was doing when I was 19!

And that’s when things came barreling into perspective. It’s no secret that I’m a lot less fun than I was ten years ago — who isn’t? It’s true I catch myself frowning at the idea of having to head to a bar at 10pm to celebrate a birthday (not because I don’t want to celebrate you, but because that’s my bedtime!), or communicating with kids in the “you’ll understand when you’re older” accent. I drink tea before bed, have a pair of house slippers, and drive a station wagon. I actively search for people, foods, environments, and situations that will better me, rather than people, foods, environments, and situations that will satisfy me (the former does the both, mind you). It’s also true that I come home from nine hours of work and can’t hardly wait to get in a workout and immediately land myself in the kitchen to start cooking.

Not that I enjoy aging, but I can’t say I’m terribly sad to see my 20s go. Minus the nasty cold I came down with yesterday (thanks for that, by the way), I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been. I’m motivated, established, and, in my humble opinion, well-balanced. Sure, I still like to let the proverbial hair down and have one too many beers, an extra slice or eight of birthday cake, or play hookie because it’s 85 and the sun is shining (only on a day when I know they won’t miss me, of course — and I’m not referring to today, even though I’m reporting to you from under my covers at 2:30pm). But most of my decisions are those made in an effort to move me forward — to become something more than I was the day before. Maybe it’s school. Maybe it’s a new book. Maybe it’s incorporating a green smoothie into my everyday diet (try this, and I’m not kidding — it will change your life). Maybe it’s letting go of old habits. Maybe it’s finding a new means of exercise (like Shawn T’s Rockin’ Body – ha – if you people could only see). No matter the choice, no matter the change, they’re all made with a conscious effort to create a better Jess — wiser, more patient, more full of life.

So when 30 comes-a-knockin’ in just 355 short days, I’ll embrace it with open arms. A fresh start. One that begins with greatness and leads me kindly into the rest of my life.

With that said, I must give a shout out to this 29th year, and all the 28 before it. In spite of the terrain (often bumpy, very full of holes, and sometimes very unforgiving), it’s been a journey of learning and laughter. And more importantly, it’s led me here — to this place of beauty and health and wholesomeness.

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