What (would) happen if your crazy-wings got clipped?

August 6, 2010

We CAN go back to college, we just have to wait 50-or-so years

August 6, 2010

Precisely what’s so scary about my scary age

August 6, 2010
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It’s finally happening. I’m turning my scary age tomorrow. The terrifying 2-7.
Two years ago when this whole scary age situation came about I said there was a chance I’d adjust for inflation once the number arrived, but now that it’s here I’ve decided it stays. Not because I am petrified to be turning 27, devastated that my early 20’s are over, depressed about what’s the come and other such Cathy Comic strip shit. It’s not about that. It’s about where this number falls in the arc of life and how that makes me feel about where I’ve been and where I’m going.
It’s like Katie said in that original post, “it’s the point at which I feel like I really have to get my life together – like every decision from here on out has to be really deliberate towards some kind of end life happiness.”
I’m sure 30-year-olds are rolling their eyes at this decision, 35-year-olds are about to stop reading, and people my parent’s age (if not my actual parents) are making that, “if you think 27 is scary…” face. They’re all right and valid, but so am I.
In many, many ways these days, age is just a number. You can get married at 25 or 40 and still have a biological family. You can change your career every decade for your entire life. You can start your 30s in incredible debt and end them a millionaire. Martha Graham was a prima ballerina at 50-something and Doogie Howser was an M.D. at 15. Our options are limitless.
But that doesn’t mean we don’t feel a certain way about hitting certain numbers, and it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pay attention to our pacing along the way. In my head there are things, career-wise, that I’ve always wanted to accomplish by the time I’m 30. If I get there without checking them off the list I won’t be a failure, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t set goals and work to hit them. One of those things is to become a (legitimately) published author. 30 is a very young age to make that happen – I know and appreciate that – but if I don’t draw a line in the sand how am I supposed to stay motivated and prioritized? In the same way there are certain things, personal-things-wise, that I’d like to experience before I leave m 20s. One of those is to be in a long-ish term, committed relationship (so, longer than 5 months). That’s not me saying I have to be married by 30- not at all. That’s a goal because I think it is life enhancing to learn all the lessons that a committed relationship teaches while in your 20s. And so I look at myself at 27 and say, where have I been and what does that mean? What do I want, and how do I go about finding it?
27, to me, is that point at which you say, time to point the fun and games in a specific direction, time to take those major risks that you’re in perfect shape to make happen, time to take stock or do an audit or whatever cliché works best and say, okay, good, but what if I just absolutely went for everything I really, truly desire.
But when I originally picked my scary number it was about that pit in your stomach you feel when you realize you forgot to take the perfect picture at a given even that’s never going to happen again. That, shit-I-missed-it feeling. Now that I’m actually here at 27 things are no less scary, but in a totally unexpected turn of events I feel like I want that scary.
I want to have that pressure of feeling like there are items to check off in my 20s. I’m excited about drawing lines in the sand and pacing to meet them. The whole idea of the gravity of this point in life is exhilarating. It’s not my scary age because I suspect I’ll find my first grey hair before I turn 2-8. It was never about that. It’s about the fact that the number 2-7- and where it falls in the scheme of life charges me with a motivation to commit to my passions and dive at the risks that requires.
So I’m scared, yes. But at 27 I’d rather be scared with a purpose than fearless without a cause. I like to think it’s just the motivational emotion I’ll need for the adventure that’s to come in my 27th year.
But more on that next week…

9 comments

  1. I don’t know why but I had a hard time when I turned 27 this year as well. I freaked out and then when the day came, it was just like any other day and I sort of got over it. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

  2. I think I’ve finally found a kindred in what 27 means, at least in my head, and what leaps I’m contemplating within that year. Every person I’ve shared my 27-phobia/new life goals with has rolled their eyes and pointed out “how young” 27 still is, as if that’s the final word in the discussion. This piece continues the conversation and highlights why it’s okay to have said conversation. Nice post, lady. And very happy birthday, obvi.

  3. I just turned 30 not that long ago and when I think back three years ago, I was pregnant with my daughter. Everyone I know is at different levels in their 20s. You seem to have great ideas and goals and as long as you feel its right for you…go with it. I know when I was in my 20’s I wanted to start a career, travel, get married and have a child. If it took 5 years fine and if it took all 10 years that was fine too. I did them all! Some it takes longer. The ride of life is unknown to us all, its up to us to make it what we want it to be no matter how long it takes us! Happy birthday fellow Leo!

  4. Our journey has begun!… secretly though

    If I’ve left you this message, you’re a follower of my original blog ~OR~ just someone I’ve happened upon while sending out these invites and that I would LOVE for to come along for the ride! Though I won’t be revealing who I am just yet – until we’re TO and THROUGH the first trimester! Just getting the word out about our new site – further explanation of all the secrecy and what we’re about on my first post. I’d love for you to stop by.

    Exciting things going on around here!

    http://www.DefinitelyMaybeBaby.com

    ~ the {secret} *Maybe* Baby Mama

  5. I am also 27 this year, in a few months, and I totally understand where you are coming from. I wish I could impart some certainty to you though, as I don’t feel as despairing as I might have earlier this year, since I’m pregnant now, and feel I’ve ‘ticked’ another of my pre-30 boxes. I remember my sister refusing to hear that 27 meant she was “late” twenties rather than “mid” still, and yes now that I’m here I understand. I’m not career sorted, and I worry about money, but at least I feel like my direction is pretty good.

    Good luck 🙂

  6. I am also 27 this year, in a few months, and I totally understand where you are coming from. I wish I could impart some certainty to you though, as I don’t feel as despairing as I might have earlier this year, since I’m pregnant now, and feel I’ve ‘ticked’ another of my pre-30 boxes. I remember my sister refusing to hear that 27 meant she was “late” twenties rather than “mid” still, and yes now that I’m here I understand. I’m not career sorted, and I worry about money, but at least I feel like my direction is pretty good.

    Good luck 🙂

  7. I am 26 and my scary number is 30. This is what I plan on doing before 30 — have a house, go to Cuba, and travel to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup, the year I turn 30, so that will make that 3-0, as you put it, less scary…And I would love to continue traveling! Marriage and kids are not in my plans before I turn 30. first of all, I don’t believe in marriage so living with my partner works just fine. Kids? I’m scared of them, but I guess it’ll happen when it’ll happen (hopefully not before 35). To me life is good as it is right now…no pressure, no extra bills, no crying babies…I mean, how am I supposed to take care of a kid now when I don’t even cook for myself? Sometimes I just eat cereal because I’m too lazy to cook. This is coming from me, a latina whose entire family (and family friends) is in her business all the time, asking questions about kids and marriage and being “old”…I’m not the traditional latina I guess. All I know is that I’m happy with what I’ve done so far (graduated from college, have a full time job, being able to support my family in my home country, travelled to India, Mexico, Canada and Costa Rica) and most importantly, I have no regrets.

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