What is it like to turn 35?

I turn 35 today.

About a month ago, during a late-night conversation with a close friend, she asked what it’s like to turn 35, if I had any regrets, if I was happy.

I answered then, but it didn’t come out the way it should have.

I guess I should’ve answered like this:

Turning 35 isn’t all that bad. There’s been good, and there’s been bad. I wouldn’t change it, though, because it’s all added up to make me who I am. I like that person today, and I’m not sure I would have said that five years ago. Or maybe even two years ago.

Today, though, I’m happy. Good or bad, here’s why:

I have had a broken collarbone, a broken foot and too many sprains, twists, tears and tweaks to list.

I have destroyed a knee, twice, with surgeries each time to repair it. It hurts every day.

I have a scar on my arm from chicken pox.

I have held a great job at a small newspaper.

I have gotten completely burned out by small-town journalism.

I have elementary, middle school and high school teachers and college professors I still talk to on a semi-regular basis. I still feel awkward calling them by their first names.

I have an amazing job working for a health department that gives back so much to the community.

I have the chance to interact with people I respect, which allows me to learn more about being successful.

I have the chance to interact with people I despise, which allows me to learn even more about being successful.

I have the chance to realize that people I interact with probably weigh more toward despising me than respecting me, which allows me to learn more about myself.

I have been married.

I have been divorced.

I have fallen in love.

I have had my heart broken.

I have broken hearts.

I have at least two women in two different states who won’t acknowledge my existence.

I have fought.

I have laughed.

I have cried, from happiness and pain, joy and sadness.

I have made others cry, from happiness and pain, joy and sadness.

I have friends who are there for me anytime I need them.

I have realized these people are more like my family.

I have friends who are never there.

I have realized these people aren’t really my friends.

I have one God.

I have three nephews who make me feel like a kid again, even when my knee disagrees.

I have a sister who I became friends with as we got older.

I have a mother who almost died but came back a stronger person.

I have a father who should have died but came back a better person.

I have my family, I have my friends, I have my health, I have my house, I have my job.

I am alive.

So, I guess 35 isn’t all that bad.

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6 thoughts on “What is it like to turn 35?

  1. Hey, I’m there every once in a while, what does that make me?

    That’s an impressive list of experiences. People do continue to develop far into life, as you alluded to with your parents. My own rate of change is still fast enough that I haven’t remotely begun to feel set in my ways at 35. Perhaps at 55. We’ll see.

  2. That, my friend, is a very insightful look at the first third of your life. Tomorrow is the first day of the second third. Enjoy! Happy Birthday!

  3. I will be 35 in October and I can relate to almost all of what you are saying… My sister actually comes to me for advice now! I don’t know how I gained all this wisdom, but my craziness must have lead me to this place. I like it. and I am thankful.

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