It’s going to be a whole new year… because it has to be.

Today is my 29th birthday.  Happy birthday to me.  Insert wry facial expression here.

A lot of people, especially family friends and older acquaintances, have assumed that my feeling of dread as this birthday approached had to do with this being the last year of my twenties.  While I don’t deny that I’m susceptible to the same concerns about life milestones and fears of aging that most people experience, my anxiety this year has had much more to do with passing through my birthday and the rapidly-thereafter ensuing holidays without a certain someone, the person with whom I’ve celebrated every milestone and holiday for the past seven years.

My 28th year was supposed to be phenomenal: publishing my first book; getting engaged to the man I loved; moving with said man to the States and sharing my home country with him; marrying him and beginning our legitimate adult lives (careers, kids, etc) together… But instead, my 28th year was a vicious tornado of torment and betrayal and desperate last-minute changes to my well-laid plans, leaving me adrift in San Francisco, single and living with my parents and still looking for a full-time job, as my birthday rolled around.  In short, my 28th year, with the notable exception of the still-surreal wonder of publishing my memoir, can SUCK IT.

So despite my sadness about celebrating this birthday ‘alone’ (I use the scare quotes because I do have plans with some lovely ladies tonight) and my anxiety about leaving my twenties behind in a very short time, I’m glad I’m 29 now.  If nothing else, it’s a brand new year – once 2014 starts the year will be even newer. As for the concern about approaching 30, well I never really felt I fit in with the twenty-somethings anyway; I’ve always been an old soul.  So bring on the thirties.

And lest we associate the one good thing about my 28th year with all the other, shitty things (which have an obvious common denominator), I have a new book jacket AND a new dedication for the paperback edition.  The text, with all its fawning and blind love, remains unchanged, as does my past, but that is what it is.  Hopefully from here on out things will be better.  If nothing else, they’ll be different, because they have to be.