By: Kate Dugan

I turn 29 this week.  About two weeks ago, I started my annual, rather accidental switch-over to thinking of myself asmy pending age.  I unflinchingly told my new co-worker I was 29 almost ten days early!  Its like my brain’s emotional way of preparing to come to terms with my new age in time for the actual birthday.

I usually love birthdays.  My mom made a big, fun deal out of them every year.  And with a birthday at the end of February in the Midwest, it was also a celebration of longer days and the beginnings of the end of a long winter.

But this year I’m having a tough time with it.  Maybe its because 29 is so very close to 30 and 30 just seems sooooo old. I think I had all these visions of the kind of person I’d be when I’m this close to 30 and its just not like that.  I am not the calm, wise Catholic woman I hoped I’d be by now.  I’m not settled into a home with a garden and a regular routine.  I can offer very little sage advice to my younger sister who is falling in love for the first time.  I have no spiritual insights to share with my yoga class.  To my utter surprise, I am not the Catholic Elder I thought I’d be at 29!

I’m sure that folks wiser and more mature than me will read this and chuckle to themselves or feel the same way I did when I didn’t quite know what to say to a young woman who told me she felt soooooo old to be turning 22 next month. Nonetheless, 29.  29.

I don’t dread growing older.  I have been told by several people that the twenties are a very over-rated decade and the thirties are a great time of life.  I believe them, trust their experience.

I spend a lot of time thinking and wondering about age and being at different stages of life.  I think it affects the way we experience religion, God, spirituality.  I think I used to think I’d be fully-formed in my spiritual wisdom and practices by now.  But, really, I am regularly reminded how much my spiritual life is a path, as Miles Horton & Paulo Friere know well, “we make by walking.”  So as I lean into being 29, I hope to continue making my path, ever-open to the ways age and experience shape and re-shape me.

Kate Dugan is co-editor of From the Pews in the Back and, even at 29, enjoys a little Gilmore Girls now & again.

Image from: http://applehead.typepad.com/applehead/images/2008/02/22/damian_birthday_card_08.jpg


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