It has been almost 2 years since my last blog post. I wondered many times if I would ever come back to this cyber place. As I think back to the version of myself who wrote my first blog several years ago, I feel both a familiarity to and a distance from her. Since my last post, I (finally) finished my Phd, and I have continued to adjust to life as a mother to three kids in a transracial adoptive family. The world has changed, and I have changed along with it. I have seen things I cannot unsee and lived through things that have altered and expanded the way I see God, others, and myself. (More on that in future blogs). This hiatus has involved extensive introspection, reflection, and realizations about who I am and who I want to be, culminating in what feels to me like a major life event- turning 35.
What is the significance of turning 35 and why can’t I shake this hunch that it is supposed to mean something?
I went to the gym the day after my birthday, and the answer to my existential question slapped me across the face as I locked in my settings on the elliptical machine. 35 is the default age. It is the middle number for gym members to either adjust up or down from as they begin their work out. And now, I don’t have to adjust it in any direction.
I am the default age.
As if that weren’t enough, 35 is also the start of a new age bracket on forms. Under 18. 18-24. 25-34. 35-44. 45-54. 55-64. 65 and older.
There I am. The very beginning of the middle bracket. According to an article by bbc.com, not only is 35 the age when people are no longer perceived to be “young”, but it is also the age when men reach “peak loneliness” and women hit “peak boring.” I had a hunch there was something significant about this age, and it appears others feel that way, too.
In honor of my giant leap into my mid-thirties and the end of my youth as I know it, I have decided to start a blog series called “Life at Default.” I will highlight different areas of life where I have grown, areas where I continue to feel inept and like a phony, and challenges I want to give myself as I symbolically transition to life in the in-between (not to be mistaken for the upside-down). I don’t want this season to be categorized by loneliness or general life boredom. I refuse to go through life in autopilot. I want to be awake and active. I want to engage in these middle years with purpose and passion. I want to feel confident about being 35 and all that it entails. I want to trust that I am not supposed to have it all together, and that, maybe, I have a few things more together than I realized.
So here I am, attempting to be who I am, where I am. Here’s to letting go of my people-pleasing tendencies and becoming more honest about how I think and feel. Here’s to caring less about social media likes and sound bites and spending more time advocating for marginalized populations and people I love. Here’s to facing my fears and asking myself, “What is mine to do?”
Here’s to 35. Here’s to life at default. Instead of wallowing, I think I’ll own it.