Today is my last day of being 27. As of tomorrow, I take on 28 with a bright, welcoming and hesitant hug.
Not to sound like a total cliche, but I feel each age has something you can take away from it. Not every year is going to bring huge life changing moments or eclipses of insight; some are more eventful than others, what can I say?
When I think back to where I was last year on this exact day, 26 and about to turn 27, I don't think I could have imagined how much evolution this age had in store for me. Unemployment. Moving. Personal struggles and triumphs. Africa. Pregnancy. Yowza, what a year.
I decided it might be good to give a quick summation of the things I learned, as well as a few things I'm looking forward to educating myself on, at 28.
What I've learned:
Don't ever settle for unhappiness. Even when things seem desperate, they will get better. On this day last year, I was miserable with my life. I hated my job, more so than I even realized, but put up with the misery because the money I was making was good. Also, I think I was so entrenched in my daily reality that it was difficult for me to take a step back and look at how anxiety ridden I had become. It was incredibly unhealthy.
Your self-respect is worth more than ANY paycheck can provide you. I finally found the balls to leave my job after a situation forced me to examine what I had come to accept as my day-to-day reality. If you hate what you're doing or hate the person you're working for, figure out the next step and quit. It's scary and uncomfortable, but good things can only come from following your heart and listening to your gut.
Life is meant to be enjoyed. Experiences, love, laughter... these are the things you will think about when you are close to death. Wow, that took a sudden morbid turn, didn't it? I am trying, in my pregnant brain stupor, to explain that I have been trying to soak up the goodness in every opportunity life provides me. While some of those experiences couldn't be bottled up and paid for, there are others I will NEVER regret splurging on because adventure, taste, landscapes and moments are memories. And memories (AND LOVE) will keep you company in your old age.
Love is hard work. Ok, so I didn't necessarily learn this lesson this year; it's more of an ongoing bit of discourse. Some days I am loveable. Some days, I am not loveable at all. We all must face the fact that we cannot be loveable all the time!!! So when you find yourself driven to the point of insanity by the person you're with, take a step back and remind yourself of why you fell in love in the first place. And then remind yourself that they too have to take a step back and remind themselves of why they love you.
You are most likely the person who is hardest on yourself. And you should give yourself a break. Try to remember these lovely words from Roald Dahl: “A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a
wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth,
but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like
sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”
What I Think I Might Learn:
How to change a diaper.
What my mom went through to give me life.
How to bake a loaf of bread from scratch (full disclosure: I technically already know how to do this. But I haven't done it on my own yet. So there in lies the challenge/lesson).
How to be a successful freelancer AND stay-at-home mom concurrently. This may be the hardest lesson of all.
Ok, 28... I think I'm ready for you.