Yesterday morning I gave a research presentation at my high school. My dean and I have been working with them for the past few months, and it’s so fun to get to be back and see my old principal and teachers. It has been ten years!!
When I graduated from high school I was in the depths of my eating disorder. The teachers remember me that way — as a very high achieving, perfectionist girl struggling with her mental health. To be able to see them again, thriving and healthy, was really special for me. I’m proud of how far I’ve come.
At 29, I can look back at my past self and see how much I’ve grown. I can now speak confidently about mental health, cognitive distortions, and maladaptive perfectionism. I know how important it is to have healthy ways to manage your emotions and stressors. I can share my experiences as both a warning and a hope — it doesn’t have to be that way, and there are things we can do to make it better.
At 29, I can feel “so old”, but still see how young I am. I felt so grown up when I graduated college. I thought I had my life planned out ahead of me with my six-year management track program at my job, training for marathons, and my long distance boyfriend. If only I knew how much things would change! Even at 25 when I made my career change and started to pursue medicine, I worried how late it was. Now, at 29 and the oldest girl in my class, I see how much life there is ahead of me. How there is no rush to do anything or “get” anywhere. Who knows where I’ll be ten years from now!
At 29, I can still sometimes hang with the cool kids. I pay for it the next day (or three), but being in class with people five years younger than me means I get to bring out my inner college kid sometimes! Dancing the night away with friends can be so, so therepeutic. Other times being in bed with tea on a Saturday night feels oh, so good.
At 29, I go weeks without talking to my parents, and then weeks where I want to talk to them multiple times a day. I am an adult that can relate to them about things like work, finances, and family life, but at other times still feel like their little kid looking for comfort and advice.
At 29, my worries are different. I actually think about my bone and heart health when I’m at the gym – a big change from the days of obsessive calorie burning. I worry about my skin and about having kids in the future. I worry about paying off loans and saving for retirement. I care more about the quality and happiness of my life than being “perfect” or “where I’m supposed to be.”
At 29, I admit that I feel a little bit of pressure this year. The last year in my twenties. Thirty is a little scary, even though I know it’s just a number. Are there things I should be to doing or feeling once I’m thirty? At 29, I can recognize that’s a stupid question.
At 29, I can see how lucky I am. I am so grateful for a supportive family, the most amazing friends, and the ability to pursue my passions.
At 29, I am excited about the future and all of it’s possibilities. I love being able to say that.
At 29, I am crazy happy.