I did it; I made it! I made it out of the 27 Club, you know, the infamous age 27 when a lot of people die, and a lot of us superstitious people (read: me) try not to let it consume us.
Twenty-seven, though, has always been one of my favorite numbers, and so I was super excited to turn twenty-seven last year, but today, today on my last day of being twenty-seven, I was afraid I might die. And though I cut someone off pretty badly in traffic tonight (he cut me off first), here I am, 10:44 pm and I'm still alive. I’m not entirely surprised, although as a child I never imagined myself getting to this age (only because it was too far away to comprehend). I didn’t think of myself as dead but rather non-existent, and dead and non-existent are not the same things. I’m glad I’m neither of those, frankly.
Honestly, I learned a lot this year. Of course, it was also the best year. Ofmyentirelife. Seriously. The most exciting being that I married the man of my dreams, and tonight as I was looking at him in the movie theater, I couldn’t stop thinking to myself how lucky I am. I also graduated from university, a ten-years-in-the-making-degree. It was wonderful and life changing and hard and eye opening and I am so grateful for all of my profs and peers at school (now this sounds like an acceptance speech). I also moved to my dream city, Seattle, and I can truthfully say that this is the first place I have ever lived that instantly feels like home (city number 8).
I always write these super long blog posts whenever I turn a new age, but these past few days have been so busy and tomorrow I’ll be busy, too. Normally I get a bit upset if I don’t have time to write on my actual day of birth, but right now, it doesn’t matter so much because I am just… happy.
For so long, life was a struggle. I don’t entirely know why. I had a great childhood and my teenage years were, well, typical rebellious teenage years. My early twenties were fun but also very dramatic and suddenly, during this age of twenty-seven, I finally felt like me. It’s like I was dropped into my own skin and had an “ah-hah!” moment, here I am, world!
Largely, I think getting married help. Marriage is not the answer to your life’s problems, but as a complete introvert, and someone who has dreamed of getting married my entire life, I had learned to be a chameleon. In my awkward and shy and quiet self, the best way I have found to relate to people is to be a mirror of them. If they are quiet, I am quiet. If they are loud and outgoing, I will be loud(er) and (more) outgoing. I find it’s the best way to get them to feel comfortable, thus making me feel comfortable, too. My theory is that if they see the parts they like of themselves reflected back to them through me, they’ll find familiarity and comfort and then we’ll get along with little confrontation. I suppose I have always been a people pleaser, and good lord, this was always the case when I was dating. I was a chameleon with all of my exes, being who they wanted me to be, and it was beyond exhausting, even when I didn’t realize I was doing it. I suppressed myself for so long to try and make them happy that it quite literally made me sick and sent me to the hospital. But none of that matters anymore because now I just feel like me. I’ve found my human, the one who makes me the best version of myself. The one who I don’t have to be a chameleon with, but the one who is also similar to me. Ying and yang. Peanut butter and jelly, you know. That’s who we are.
But mostly, not having to be a chameleon to anyone anymore has allowed me to focus on me again. I know that sounds selfish, but helping me has helped me help others. By figuring out myself and who my core identity is, it has allowed me to be a full version of myself, and when I’m full, I am more open and available to others, to those who need me the most. It’s a win-win, for everyone.
And so while there are most definitely twenty-seven things I learned about myself this past year (and usually this is the format of my “birthday posts”), I guess the only real important one to discuss is that I simply learned how to be me, and be okay with me.
I have so many thoughts on aging, so many thoughts I want to write about more. Tomorrow I will be twenty-eight, and I know that is still young, but it is not young-young, ya know. For so long I thought I was going to be this prodigy child that forever changed the world, and I couldn’t imagine myself ever getting old, no. I was going to remain this child superstar, but I don’t suppose I did anything monumental. I mean yes, I think I did a lot of amazing small things, and small things add to big things. I am beyond grateful for every opportunity I’ve had and where my life has brought me, but I think as a prodigy child I also thought I could somehow skip getting old and simply be a child forever. So it’s weird to me, that I am as old as I am now. And it’s weird to me, that I still exist in my own skin and I’m still the same me as I was when I was only ten. It’s weird to me that eventually, I’ll be in my thirties, forties, fifties and gosh, sixties, and I'll be laughing at my twenty-seven/eight-year-old self. Eventually, I’ll be 101 because I am determined to live to be at least 101.
The past few months I’ve been doing a lot of self-help identity work, and it is this next birthday approaching (uh oh, only 59 minutes left) where I’ve realized that a lot of my identity went into being young. Once again, the child prodigy. You can do anything you put your heart to! You can change the world! It is YOU and YOUR generation that will do xyz! And I hope it’s still true, but I am learning that I defined myself by that, by being young. And so I’ve had to do a lot of “de-younging” my identity to realize that I am still a valuable and worthy human being just because I’m not as young as I use to be. And I can turn thirty and have a new career if I want. I can turn forty and have a new hobby. I can turn fifty and climb a mountain for the first time. And so on and so on and so on. My age, and aging, will not define who I am.
I have no idea what this next year will bring, but I’m relieved I don’t have to think about the 27 Club anymore. I spend a lot of time thinking, so maybe for year 28, I’ll spend more time doing. Yes, that is precisely what I will do.
Twenty-eight, here’s to doing you.