This Is For Anyone Who’s Embarrassed About What Their Life Looks Like At 34

Some people are always embarrassed on their birthday, but 34 can be a very embarrassing birthday. Or year.

34 years old is when you start shedding the young young adult years, and you are finally a young adult. Youngish adult? Or are you a “real adult?” An adult adult? It’s years before a mid-life crisis, and yet it’s definitely some kind of cornerstone.

So, why are 34-year-olds so embarrassed all the time? 34-year-olds are embarrassed if they’re not married. They’re embarrassed if they don’t have children. If they are married, they probably don’t want to see you because they’re embarrassed that their marriage dynamic isn’t “storybook” enough. If they’re divorced, they’re probably too embarrassed to write about it on social media, and sometimes, they simply save face by leaving social media altogether.

34-year-olds are embarrassed to both be on social media and not be on social media when asked. They are embarrassed by every post that they make. It shared too much. Or it wasn’t funny enough. People didn’t get it. And no picture is ever good enough. No outfit really expresses how they feel. They can’t find a hairdresser they like. They are embarrassed to cut their own hair as well, even if they are hipsters.

At 34 years old, you can expect some self-evaluation. How am I doing in my career? How am I doing in my love life? What do I look like? Do I look better or worse than I expected I would look at this age when I was four years old?

This is a year when you can also expect to be comparing yourself to others. How am I doing in my career compared to other people my age? How am I doing in my love life compared to other people my age? Do I look better or worse than other people my age?

If you’re 34 years old now, you’re probably saying, “These are questions that you ask yourself at every age.” Not really. Younger people are very confident that they are in their physical prime. Older people are very confident that they are in their intellectual prime, their personality prime, and their social prime.

34 years old is actually a great prime as well. Yes, you might not look like you did when you were 10 years younger, but you’ve probably gotten a lot better at doing your hair and makeup and finding suitable fashion. At 24 years old, sure you were younger, but you probably made blush circles on your cheeks, threw in a couple of bobby pins into your finger combed hair, and sloppily tied a fraying vintage silk scarf around your neck that you found secondhand—without a mirror. You probably look better now that you have a diffuser, highlighter, and a washable scarf. You’re probably in a good intellectual, personality, and social prime as well, because you’re young enough to relate to younger people, yet old enough to relate to older people.

34-year-olds who are embarrassed all the time drive everybody crazy. Younger people want somebody to look up to. Older people want younger people to mentor. And all 34-year-olds do is minimize contact.

Be bold! Be brave! 34 is as great a year as any other to achieve your goals.