For a while, birthdays were fun but not really significant to me. I would wake up on May 24th and realize that I was now 25 instead of 24, or that I was 26 instead of 25.
Inevitably someone would say, “It’s your birthday! How do you feel!?”
“Literally the exact same, ” I would respond after considering the question. Because I did. I felt no different than the day before when I had gone to bed a different age.
But something about turning 27 is more significant. I don’t feel old, per se, but I feel like I’m now a borderline adult instead of a recent grad or whatever else I once was. I saw a meme that actually does a great job of summarizing where I’m at right now. This is what it said:
Many of my friends live with their significant others. This is a fairly recent development. Last summer most of us were single or just dating but living on our own. The weekends were spent going out, getting really drunk, talking to guys, and maybe dealing with someone crying. And yeah, maybe sometimes that someone was me, what of it?
This summer? Totally different. My one friend moved half an hour away and bought a house. Now when I want to go to dinner, she’s taking a rain check and saving money to buy new flooring. My other friend got a dog, so she’s taking a rain check and saving money to send him to doggie daycare or obedience school. I don’t have to pay for either of these things and still have no money, so I respect them and their financial responsibility immensely, but you have to admit the vibe has changed.
And yet personally I feel like I’m caught in a transitional phase. I don’t own a house or a condo, but this is something I might like to do in the near future. I don’t own a dog. I would really like to, but I travel a lot and deep down I know I’m not responsible enough right now. I have virtually no savings. If I randomly needed to buy a $500 part for my car, I would be hitting up the Bank of Mom and Dad. Yet I work really hard. I have goals. I have self-confidence. I know what I’m looking for in a relationship. I don’t hang out with people unless the friendship is strong and healthy. So in those ways, I’ve grown up a lot from where I used to be.
The other day I was catching up with an old friend, and he assured me that 27 was like this for him too. You don’t feel like a reckless early twenty-something anymore, but you’re not quite ready to be a full-fledged adult yet either. We’re Adult Lite. Adult Wannabe. Borderline Adult. You fall through the cracks.
Because of this, I have a tendency to be hard on myself.
“You need to get it together,” I’ll think, as I’m lying in bed dealing with hour seven of a hangover that would have been classified as a random Wednesday back in college when I was young and my body was sprightly.
“Stop dating these freaks,” I’ll think to myself again as I’m crouched behind a display of flatbreads at my local grocery store hiding from someone I went on an awkward date with who still feels compelled to make small talk with me.
And then I realize: hey. I’m doing well for myself at this stage in my life. It’s a weird time. Accept it and embrace it. Plus, does anyone really ever feel like they have life totally figured out? I find that hard to believe.