On the Eve of my 29th Birthday….

I don't actually ascribe to this theory, I just think it's a very funny picture.

I must blog.  It’s the end of another year, therefore I must write something….  Profound!

I must also go to the gym (in like 5 minutes) then go home, have a shower, have dinner, and throw my toothbrush into my tramping pack since we’re leaving in 3 hours.

But first, the profound!  Okay, honestly I’ve been composing this blog post in my head for about 2 weeks now.  Turning 29…  Eek!  It sounds so, well, old.  I don’t feel old.  I don’t think I look that old (despite – wait a minute – are those crows feet around my eyes?  And, yes, bf found my first gray hair about 2 weeks ago!!)…  But 29 sounds kinda old.  Or at least, I can remember a time not that long ago when my sisters were all about 29 and man, did it sound OLD.

But 29 isn’t old.  Well, at least I don’t feel old in the slightest.  I suspect it has to do with me still being a student.  Yes, I’m really excelling at this whole, delaying adulthood thing (adulthood to me now = full time job [financially independent], house [or other mostly permanent living situation] and married, kids optional).

I don’t think 29 will really be that different from 28 (well, 28 for me was one hell of a year so in that respect, possibly).  In fact, I might be more off the rails than ever because it’s my last year of being a student, possibly my last year in Dunedin, and the last year of my 20s (when you can still get away with silly behavior from time to time).

At least I’ll be starting it off in what has to be the best way possible (tramping – quite possibly my favourite activity in the world?).

What I think is most interesting about turning 29 is to think about how much I’ve changed from say 24 to 29.  Heck, from 28 to 29!  Sometimes I think I’m totally different, and sometimes I think I’m still essentially the same.

Mostly I think about the fact that I have been in New Zealand for five years now.  Five years.  It’s only recently that I’ve begun to think I’ve actually stuffed myself.  I worry I won’t be able to assimilate back into US culture when I finish my PhD (I anticipate a large and lengthy and possibly nearly lethal dose of reverse culture shock).  Why?  Something has happened to me while I’ve been here.  I have fallen in love with New Zealand.  It’s culture.  It’s people.  It’s amazing scenery.  Even the Dunedin and student lifestyle.  And this experience has changed me dramatically from the person I would have been had I stayed.  Yes, I’m tired of being a totally broke student.  Yes, I will have to get a ‘real’ job.  Yes it will probably have to be somewhere back in the US.  And yes, it will probably break my heart to leave this place.  But not to go back would also break my heart.  So you see what I mean?  I’m caught between a rock and a hard place.  Once you live for soooo long in a different country, you become a part of the place, and it becomes a part of you.  To me, this matters a lot more than any age (which is just a number).  MN will never be the same if I go back.  And vice versa, nor would New Zealand if I were ever to return.  The only solution is to go somewhere new again (I’m sort of kidding…)!

But for now, good-bye 28!  And hello 29.



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