From Our Readers Is 29 Still Socially Acceptable To Be…Stuck in the Middle? From Our Readers

You know that song by Jimmy Eat World circa early 2002 that goes something like, “Hey, don’t write yourself off yet. It’s only in your head you feel left out or looked down on. Just try your best, try everything you can.” Of course, who could forget that infamous chorus,”It just takes some time, little girl, you’re in the middle of the ride. Everything (everything) will be just fine, everything (everything) will be alright (alright).”

“Little girl”, hmm? So maybe 29 is a tad late to be in the middle,  but then again, if I am going to with the lyrics of this song as my guideline, then I suppose it’s safe to say we’ve all reached the middle by age 7.

I am 29. Twenty-Nine. And I still feel like I am in the middle of this gosh darn ride! I do not have it all figured out yet, I am still paying rent, I’m still living paycheck to paycheck, I am not married and I don’t have any children.

Being 29 is funny like that. It’s such a lil’ tease, because I know who I am, what I want and more importantly, what I don’t want; in better words, I am ready for the next chapter in my life, but it’s not happening just quite yet.  Like I said, 29 is a tease.

I like to take pride on living in the present and only focusing on the right now because you never know, the world can end at any given moment, but I suppose it’s human nature or just the planner in myself to focus on the future, and so that burning question arises more and more the older I get.  When does this “middle” part end? When do I start seeing my life move in the direction to build the future I so desperately crave. Is it happening now and I am just too oblivious to see it?

I suppose that actually makes a lot of sense. And truth be told, I am actually just now realizing this as I am writing this and I sort of hate to admit it, but what if I am on to something here? What if at 29, I am still oblivious – well, at least partially (cue the epiphany please or drum roll or both) because even though I am still paying rent, I am renting a cute little house. Even though I am living paycheck to paycheck, it’s still a check I get every two weeks and more, so it’s in the industry I want to work in (unless I win the lottery then I am buying a farm and retiring with my 10,000 animals). I may not be married but I have been with my amazing guy for 6 years. I also may not have any children, but in the big picture, that’s okay, my two kitties are enough for right now. But I still get excited at the thought of knowing I will be a Mom one day.

Most importantly, I stated earlier in my spiel that I do not have it all figured out (but who really does? I mean, besides Oprah?). But what matters is that I am now much more aware of who I am and that’s really what it’s all about, you guys.

So the middle? Well, Google says the average life expectancy is 78.1, so if I divide that in half, it’s about 39 years old. I have a decade to go. I believe Jimmy Eat World should change the lyrics from “little girl” to, “It just takes some time, half-way aged women you’re in the middle of the ride.”

Read more from Rachel Bak on her blog.

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  1. If it is of any comfort at all, I am 32 (cresting 33), and I have been married for 2 years and have a 16 month old son. If you would have asked me when I was 29 where I thought it was all headed, i would have told you a much different story… than the one you are hearing now, I assure you. The point is, you just have no way of knowing what tomorrow holds for you. We are still renting, and living paycheck to paycheck, and my husband (28) and myself have both gone back to college, too. You find ways to make it all work out, but the most important things to remember are: 1) what works for others may not work for you. And if you look a little closer, you may not really want it to. Most of the time, the ones who seem blissfully happy and who seem to have it all (and have it all together), are usually the most unhappy. 2) you have PLENTY of time. Enjoy what you have and the time you have while you have it. Like I said, you NEVER know what tomorrow will throw at you!

  2. That was my song during college! I was having such a rough time with my life at that point, and when I heard that song it just helped. :-) My best friend and his buddies called me up one day when I was about to leave for the summer and go back home and they serenaded me with that song! It was awesome and definitely made my day…actually, when I think of it, I still always smile. :-)

  3. sweethearts: I’m near 60 and at times feel I’m in the middle of the ride! and what a long, strange trip it’s been!

  4. I wouldn’t worry about the typical societal things we feel the need to accomplish such as having children by a certain age or even at all. If you’re happy in the here and now then this is what is right. I have learned the hard way that you cannot plan for the future to work out the way you would like it. It is better to take smaller steps and allow yourself the freedom from the pressure of things that you cannot control.

  5. Maybe being in the middle of the ride aint so bad, its sounds pretty good to me. I am 21 (yes I know, I’ve a few more years before I can really start complaining!), but from what I have seen you can feel stuck in the middle at any age, and way past the middle-aged age of 39. Maybe its down to our attitude to life. Like my ma says, PMA… Positive Mental Attitude… Or something like that, I’m not quite there yet :)

  6. The Middle has been my go-to “happy song” pretty much since it first came out! I felt like I was in “the middle” when I first heard it (must’ve been about 18 then) but the thing is, I still feel like I’m in the middle 10 years later. Either way, it’s happy up-beat tempo and reassuring lyrics always make me feel better whenever I’m feeling down or lost in whatever flighty adventure I’m embarking in at that time. Cuz the truth is, we’re all in the middle and everything (everything
    ) will be just fine. Everything (everything) will be alright, alright!

  7. Hi Rachel,

    I am 29 and feel the same! I have an alright job that pays the rent on my flat but doesn’t allow me to save. I’ve been with my bloke just a year, so marriage and babies are still a far away possibility. I have grand plans of being a full-time writer (and finally finishing that novel) but 29 is beginning to feel a little late in the game. Like you, I have my plans, dreams and sense of self sussed, but am still waiting for it all to fall into place. Getting the balance between making sensible life plans and living for the moment is hard.

    Good piece, thanks! (Will go home and listen to that song!) x

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