29 Is A Magical Number

29 Is A Magical Number

Here is the thing about having a birthday. It makes you re-evaluate yourself on the most basic level and contemplate the way you exist. Well, maybe not for a 5-year-old, but certainly for my now-29-year-old-self. I’ve been looking forward to this number for a long time. When I was little I used to ask my grandmother how old she was, and she would always answer with 29. No matter how old she was, or when I asked, her answer was always “29”. From that young age I idolized Age 29. I thought it was the epitome of greatness. I thought, since it was the age she chose to be stuck at forever, that it would hold special magical powers.

Now that I’ve hit that milestone, I know it to be true. It does hold magical powers. The most magical of all. And it has nothing to do with the age. It has everything to do with my connection to myself, who I wan to be, and who I am. You see, my grandmother was the most special person to me. She was my best friend, my confidant, and the person I wanted to tell all my secrets to. I lost her when I was 13, and it was the most profoundly moving experience for me. And I thought, when she passed away, that when I’m 29 I will understand her.

And I think I do. I think I understand what it means to be me. And that is, in turn, understanding her. It is important. It is meaningful. It is what she would have wanted for me.

I spent my birthday with no expectations, and that is one of the biggest lessons I have learned. I have learned to stop expecting things from the world, and to begin expecting everything from myself. I am in control. I make goodness manifest in my life. I do not expect handouts from the world anymore. I woke up on my birthday and kissed my husband and cuddled my cats and I felt Home. I went to my studio and photographed an image I’ve been planning for 8 months, and I felt Alive. I was surprised by my best friend with balloons, and I felt Loved. I got a card from my parents and texts from my friends, and I felt Appreciated. I woke up at sunrise and watched the rays of the sun peak through the trees, turning the world from deep blue to golden yellow, and I felt Connected. I blew out the candles we put in my vegan cake, and I felt Magical.

What more can a person ask for? I’ve had great birthdays before, but always it was dependent on what others did for me, not what I did for myself. This year a shift has happened. I have accepted my responsibility. Maybe that is what it means to be grown – to be responsible for your own happiness.

I am blessed with many ambitious friends, many of whom are a bit older than myself, and for years I’ve heard their declarations of what they will have accomplished by age 30. I thought that when I entered the final year of my 20’s I would feel that urgency to produce, to be great, to be adored. But I find just the opposite. There is peace in knowing that presence in small moments, appreciation in small successes, and love for all things is more important than competition, achievement, and praise.

This past year I changed the way I work, the work I produce, and the way I live my life day to day. Everything has shifted for me. I began a yoga practice, making my health so much better. I was walking with a cane for months, and now, no more. I began a gratitude practice, and this has helped me better understand others and my own toxic thoughts. I have begun working more meaningfully, actively ridding myself of expectation, pressure, and competition.

I can see why my grandmother loved age 29, and I’m starting to think it wasn’t just because it sounded better than 30 to her. What a blessing to be able to see with such clarity, to appreciate yourself in your fullness, and to look forward with peaceful joy in all of life’s opportunities. I know that this feeling can be fleeting, that it might not be for everyone, and might come at different milestones for different people. But for the child in me that has waited all these years to meet my grandmother at 29, I welcome this moment and give her the hug I never got to when I was 13. 29 looks good on us.

5 thoughts on “29 Is A Magical Number

  1. Happy Birthday Brooke 🙂
    I’m happy to know that you find that peace. I’m starting to find it too, surprisely as I hit that number soon.

  2. Maybe someday someone invents how to send emails where I can send you attached, a hug. Until then, I can only send you in thoughts. You are a lovely person, Brooke. Sending you a big, friendly and warm hug. Love this post and this beautiful photos. Have a nice weekend. <3

  3. Thank you for this post as it jogged my own memory to a time with my grandmother (I lost her 17 years ago-I was 21 and had just had my first child 2 weeks prior). But anyway, the memory is funny and is similar in that I idolized something about her but something quite out of the ordinary. She had a little bit of a double chin. Lol. She would complain about it but as a little kid (maybe 3-4) I found it beautiful because it was part of her. She would burst out in laughter that I can still hear whenever I would ask her when I would get my double chin. Now, I’m 38 and not so anxious to have one but I still remember hers fondly! And about your message regarding feeling fulfilled? I totally felt the same way and at 38, I can tell you that if you keep up having the right frame of mind, it only gets better!

  4. Happy Birthday, Brooke! I hope you had an awesome celebration with family and friends and I hope all of your dreams and wishes come true this year! Last month I had a birthday on February 10th and I’m now 44-years-old. Can you imagine where you’ll be when you turn 44 some day? I think 44 is just a number, and because I’m a vegan, I hope I’ll live forever. Of course, when I turn 45 next year I’ll be half-way to 50, and 50 is a very magical number. 50 means I’ll have lived half my life while everything around me is constantly changing. Sadly, turning 50 also means I’ll inevitably lose older family members or friends to age, disease, injury and other unforeseen circumstances which are not pleasant. But I think death reminds us of how precious and important life really is. As artists, I think we have a responsibility to enjoy life and be as happy and creative as possible while making our world a better place to live. By following your blog, I’ve learned that you are living life to the fullest, Brooke. You are the dreamer and the dream. You are the winner and the magician of light and creativity with your camera. Your are the miracle that makes your life worth living for, so hold on to what you love most today and never let it go. Never let it go! I hope you have an awesome week, and never stop taking the photos that you are most passion about in your heart. Keep up the awesome work and never quit.

  5. I just saw this post, I have been spending a lot of time on the 30 Day Challenge. 🙂
    First and most important, what kind of vegan cake did you have? After all the desert is the best part of a birthday! 😉

    I really enjoyed reading this post, because I am 28. I don’t really give much thought to age, but 28 was a little odd for me. I had this real feeling that there were so many things I wanted to do, yet hadn’t done any of it, or at least very little. It was kind of a bummer. 🙁 But I have been thinking really hard not to think like that, and look at things in a brighter light. Now you have me think that 29 sounds like it will be better! LOL 🙂


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