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Reflections on Turning 27
For me, each New Year not only signifies a new number at the end of dates or resolutions to attempt to stick to this time, but it signifies that I am a whole year older. I know, it does that for everyone, but with a birthday so close to the New Year (January 28th) I feel the start of the excitement, anxiety and sorrow that comes with my birthday starting just about 12:01 a.m. January 2nd.
I will be turning 27 this January. I feel like I'm admitting to some kind of disease, like 27 Anonymous, "Hi, everyone. My name is Liz and I am 27." I will admit, I don't want to turn 27. I feel like after 27, it's going to be a snap of the fingers and all of a sudden I will be 55 on my way downhill into old age. This is ridiculous, I do understand that, but I can't help but feel that way. Sometimes my mind doesn't tell my emotions to be logical. Okay, most of the time.
Socially, as well as historically, 27 is a milestone in women's lives. That's about the last year an actress can play someone in high school. It's the year Jane Austen set for all of her women to either be married or be a spinster. It's also the year a woman comes to know herself better than ever. Really, that could probably be said for any year, but at 27 we have learned about ourselves as adults rather than teenagers, or college students.
I mourn for the loss of my youth. I no longer feel that I am allowed to run out into a park, barefoot, in a flowy skirt and just spin and spin until I fall down. Nor am I allowed to climb trees or play games like tag or hide-and-seek. I'm not allowed to dye my hair crazy colors, or wear fake tattoos.
Now, I am supposed to wear business suits, not torn jeans and old tank tops. Business shoes, not flip-flops. Business hairstyles, not ombre blue or braided pigtails. Ever since I've become an "adult" (still working on that by the way), it's as if everything I wanted to do as a young person just falls away one by one.
On top of all that, I still don't even feel ready to be an adult. Personal finances, budgeting, 401K's and/or IRA's, health insurance, car insurance, and don't get me started on all the bills! None of these make sense to me! How am I supposed to plan my money around all of these things and eat! I can't even comprehend the responsibility to have a dog, let alone a child right now (even though some of my friends are already on their second child!), and I can't even think of the other responsibilities I have and/or will have.
All I've ever really wanted in life is to live it to the fullest. I've never wanted much beyond that. I don't want to do crazy things. I don't want to become famous. I would like to travel, write, read, do something important (whatever that means), have a family eventually, and just experience things.
The truth of the matter is though, I've been an adult for a few years now and I seem to be doing fine. I have no idea what I'm doing, but I seem to be doing fine. According to my somewhat insecure self, I could definitely be doing better. I could have my dream job by now, be excellent at managing my money and be able to handle all the responsibilities thrown at me. But I don't, I'm not and I don't know if I can. As I've said, thinking of my 27th birthday makes me emotional. I'm scared that I won't live up to my own standards.
I have been through a lot in my 27 years. I've moved a lot, made new and lost old friends, been through a few relationships, had good times and bad times in school and out of it. I've had many arguments with my parents and have become friends with them as well. I've had emergencies and I've made mistakes and I've dealt with them. I haven't done a lot of the things that I've wanted to do, but I have lived a life. My life. And it feels good to get that down in writing. I truly believe you become the person you are through your experiences, and while I do feel I could be better in some areas of my life, I am proud of the person I've become and I hope to keep growing and changing.
They say that after 27, it just gets better from there. We're wiser, more stable and better able to deal with life. I'm still a little sad that I'm no longer able to pretend I see fairies in the forest. And I'm still a little scared about the responsibilities I will need to face, but I'm trying to be optimistic and I'm hopeful that things will, indeed be better.