This is 35.

Those that know me… know I love birthdays. My birthday, your birthday, your friend’s birthday. BIRTHDAYS!!! Yes, you’ve been to my weeklong celebrations. But for some reason this year is different. 35 is definitely a hard year to swallow. I remember thinking 30 was a little scary, but this birthday forces me into a totally new age bracket— I am now “35 and over”, which spans from 35 until… I’m pretty sure, the end 😉  

I really can’t tell which one is more horrifying…the actual number 35, or saying it out loud. Thirty- five. Thirty-five. No matter how you see it or say it, it still looks pretty evil to me—the number itself is daunting and odd. I mean, nobody is particularly interested in my thirty-fiveness—I haven’t heard anyone say: “Oh wow, you’re turning 35! That’s awesome!” But just in case you were wondering how I am feeling…here it goes.

Thirty-five…the age you’re officially no longer young??? Dun, dun, duuuuun!!! (Insert infamous sound effect)

What about a quick drink after work? Well the days of drinking without consequence are apparently over, as I now have a two glass water-to-wine ratio (the hangover just isn’t worth it. They take on a whole new dimension in this decade of life… as in… I am still hungover from that wine I drank last week). What’s that new song playing on the radio you ask? I don’t have a clue… But guess what? BSB is back on tour and all of my homies will be there at the reunion…35 plus. Backstreet’s back, alright. What’s for dinner? Well, it now takes at least four trips to the gym every week and no carbs for a month to look like I did at my heaviest during my twenties. Yep, I officially graduated from the “oh you look so young” to the “oh you look so good for your age” club.  (Heck, I am practically begging the cashier at the LCBO to look at my ID… please ask.)

My favourite though—the other day I was walking out of a store, and a young boy held the door for me. “So polite”, I thought to myself, chivalry is not dead, but then IT happened. “There you go ma’am”. My heart sank—“Ma’am!?!?!?”— Did he confuse me with Diane Bay?? I know I do look like my mother. I sat in my car,  traumatized… life was over as I knew it. I was a ma’am.  Did I mention that if I ever do choose to finally reproduce a mini-me at this age and beyond, it would be considered a GERIATRIC pregnancy… WTF!?  Someone pray for me.  

*Definition of geriatric from Marriam-Webster Dictionary: “relating to old people, especially with regard to their healthcare”. I’m sorry, did you just say I was considered OLD Marriam-Webster!? Those are fighting words. 

One day your not old, and the next day you wake up with a favourite grocery store (I do really like the produce section at the Metro on River St.) But age isn’t important right? Unless you’re cheese? Wine? A meme winks at me from my Instagram feed…I nod enthusiastically, desperately wanting to believe that it’s true. Now I know my blog is usually about finding the awesome in all life’s quarrels but I really don’t know what to say. I’m still in shock at how I got here so fast. What happened to 1999..the year Amanda Bay entered High School? (I’m continually stunned that this wasn’t just five years ago by the way).

So, in hopes to try to make this birthday a little less painful I did some research on a quest to find that awesome (that silver lining) and get this— some studies actually say that 35 is the “best age“. Ok, tell me more. I mean, I love being in my mid-30’s. You get messages from  your friends like “oh god, I’m in a club”, and I’m like “oh god, no”, while I am at home eating string cheese and watching Netflix. But all joking aside, it does seem like the perfect time to reflect on my life journey so far and enjoy it. At this point I’ve tackled the struggles, the obstacles, and most importantly—survived. 

Oh, I know (stop rolling your eyes),  35 isn’t actually “old”, so what am I stressing about? I know we all get older,  and I also know I’m not afraid of physically aging, but maybe what does scare me is the pressure to succeed and have it all…that the clock is ticking. Yes, aging happens to all of us and every year we learn something new. Like you realize how ridiculous you were for ever thinking you were old before. It makes me think that maybe the idea of aging should be more about constantly growing mentally, personally, and emotionally and not so much about wrinkles and gray hair.

“Some people are old when they’re 18 and some people are young when they’re 90. You can’t define people by whatever society determines as their age. Time is a concept that human beings created.” — Yoko Ono

Maybe 35 is actually like reaching into the pocket of an old winter coat you just pulled out storage: “What do I have here?”  And finding a $50 bill. Another year, and over three and a half decades of experience and growth. I have always heard your thirties were the years where you hit your stride, and now that I’m smack in the middle of them, I feel like I’m a million times more sure of myself and more comfortable in my own skin than I was at 25, 27, or even 31.

You bet I’m wondering why I haven’t started writing that book yet, hiked Machu Picchu and why I’m nowhere near as put-together as my parents were at this age… but the upside? I think I’m questioning everything because I’m much more aware of what I really want out of life. I guess in your 30’s you begin to really understand who you are—strengths, weaknesses, habits, and knowing and accepting yourself allows for a whole new level of appreciation of life and others. It’s all about living in gratitude (even grateful for all those new fun “traits” you have at an older age). I mean, by our mid-30’s we’ve all experienced enough heartbreak and disappointments to truly appreciate the areas in life which we’ve been blessed.

“We spend lifetimes searching endless fields for a cave of gold, that is hidden in our hearts.” — Rune Lazuli

This is 35. Happy birthday to me!  May I stay forever…. FUN. 

Bay Awesome. xoxo 

Photography by: DZ Photography

About the author

Amanda Bay

Amanda is a PR Gal from Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. She is a news enthusiast and communications specialist, navigating the media world for over 17 years. Being very passionate about her community, she strives to create a positive reaction through giving back and her work. It's about finding the awesome in all of life's experiences.

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