On the first day of 2014 I bought this watch.
Red is my favorite color, but it was the giant 27 that drew me in. Why 27? Apparently, it is a tribute to the group of great rock stars who died when they were all 27.
Here I am, 27, just like them. Alive.
In the same way fourteen happens to be the magic number for my perceived age, 27 was the magic number for my oldest imaginable age. Back then, I knew I’d graduate high school, go off to college, then study a lot. The rest was intangible.
Many of the adults in my life never talked about being in their early twenties, yet a significant life event had occurred to them after 27. Somehow the time after 27 crosses that barrier of when everything changes: you go from pretending to be an adult to actually being an adult.
Somewhere along the line I’d hope to magically become this well-dressed, cool, confident, knowledgeable, likeable individual. I would be sitting under the shade of a tree, comfortably reading, with glasses to make me look smarter. Just chilling, looking cool, enjoying the breeze, and the moment. This image was in sharp contrast to my physical and emotional reality, so it remained fuzzy. Since my teenage years, I’d been constantly steeped in intense self doubt, wading through one long drawn out period of deep depression, topped with ongoing anxiety that continues to lurk in the shadows today. Not to mention I was the wrong gender. It’s no mystery why I could never picture myself as a real adult.
Somewhere along the line, I feel I did become this person I aspired to be. I dress fairly well, to my standards anyway. Although not as confident on the inside as I appear to be on the outside, the self-doubt is now a pebble instead of a paralyzing boulder. I know lots of stuff, but what I don’t know is whether that counts as knowledgable. I found someone who finds me lovable, who has taught me how to appreciate the lovableness inside myself. Above all, I am the person I want to be. Or at least, close to it.
But I didn’t suddenly materialize into an older, wiser, cooler person. With the help of a few good friends and family in my support system, I kept moving forward, even when it was yucky and painful and all I wanted to do is hide under the covers. My significant other showed me how to actively select thoughts that pull me up instead of push me down. I am more comfortable in myself; this blog is a small testament to what a journey that has been. Every day I consciously choose to become an even better version of this incredible me, because you can never be too incredible.
There’s a reason for which recently I have been blogging a little less. These past couple of weeks I’ve been going through a personally difficult situation. I’ve made what feels like one of the hardest decisions in my life. I know everything is going be ok in the long run, including me, but for now, I’ve been feeling really shitty. I bemoan the existence of emotions, how even something that in a way does not even actually exist can hurt so much. My anxiety skyrockets unpredictably. I second-guess myself every waking moment. I don’t feel very incredible.
Deep down, I know: this too shall pass. I’ve been through a lot over the years, and I’ve been through a lot right now, but never have I had so much positive inside and all around me that even one of the most awful experiences somehow feels manageable.
I have been 27 years old for 365 days. You’d think that by now I could tell you what being 27 feels like, but the closest I could tell you is what it feels like to look half my age.
It feels safer. It feels scarier too. It’s more work, but the payoff is bigger. It’s way cooler, hands down. It still feels like I’ll never learn how to drive. Some days, it all feels worth it, despite the hardships. Some days, it does not. Either way, I feel there is a future for me out there. I have learned to enjoy those moments when that cool breeze is blowing.
Today, I am no longer 27. Here’s to 365 days of being 28.