This is what three women in the bathroom of a dance club told me Saturday night.
I went out for an early birthday celebration with some friends. We started with dinner at Border Cafe, then moved on to Grafton Street, and ended the night at Redline. Redline (if anyone from Girl's Night Weekend is reading) is like a smaller version of the Shattuck Down Low in Berkeley. Same crowd.
What that means for those of you who haven't been to either venue is that it's a place where people go to dance. It's unbelievably crowded and hot and the music is loud. Most women go there to dance with their friends. Most men go there to dance with the women. Some of those men go there to pretend to dance with women, but really just want to rub up against them. You know - "dancing."
Anyway, I (and everyone I was with) had been hit on by just about every guy around us. And just so we're clear, these guys don't actually say anything to you. They don't come up to you and say "Hey - want to dance?" They just come up behind you and start "dancing" with you. Classy.
I was tired of fighting off the "dancers" and needed a break, so I headed to the bar and got some water. Sitting by the bar is a young-looking guy (I later find out he's 24 - when did that become "young"?!?!). We make eye contact. He says something and smiles. I can't hear what he's said, so I look at him quizzically. He says, "Let me try that again. Hi, I'm Matt. What's your name?" I tell him my name.
"So, Phoebe, is it your birthday?" (I should interrupt my own story to tell you that a friend had been kind enough to purchase me a tiara and purple boa to wear, which kind of made me stand out in the crowd).
"Yes," I say "It is!"
"So how old are you, Phoebe?" asks Matt.
"29." I say.
"No you're not," says Matt.
"Yeah, I actually am."
"Well, you're really hot for 29."
For that, I danced with him. Not "danced" but danced.
But his comment, and the comment from the girls in the bathroom got me thinking. I don't feel old. I'm not even afraid of 30 (yet). But their comments sort of implied that I should feel old.
In some ways I do feel old. Not "old" so much as "mature" (although even that word doesn't sound quite right). I feel really good about where I am in my life. I finally feel like I'm on the right career path, and I'm happy with who I am. So much of my mid-twenties were spent trying to figure all that out, and it feels really good to feel like I finally know who I am and what my priorities are.
But in other ways, I don't feel old at all. I am in a very similar place to where I was when I was 21, only I've made it through the awkwardness and learning experiences of my mid-twenties now. I still don't have a clue where I'll be in 5 years - or even 2 - but that's ok. There is a sense of mystery and, in a way, freedom in not having my whole life figured out yet, but instead of stressing about it like I did a few years ago, I can embrace it and just enjoy the ride.
So here's to 29. I enter into the year with no expectations - just the goal of embracing each day for what it is, avoiding stress as much as I can, and surrounding myself with as many good people as possible.