Another year older and a lot less bolder than you used to be

30 May

I had my birthday, and the corresponding shame spiral of despair, over the weekend. I used to have countdowns, warn everyone, make lists and demands and one time I even wore a tiara to school. I was sort of a pain. Now I ignore and deflect and secretly hope people forget. I think the tide started to turn around 22, and graduating from college. That dreadful oh shit, now what? feeling only compounded by saying goodbye to the last milestone year of youth, 21. Ever since then, birthdays have been met with an increasing amount of dread and false cheer.

Though you wouldn’t know it from the gifts I got from Husband (Two hardcover volumes of The Walking Dead and the blue ray of the first Batman, what?) I am now 27.

It sounds so old and so young all at once. I don’t feel any different than I felt at 23 or 18 or sometimes even 15. I feel like my increasing age is highlighting an increasing level of failure. Generations before, a person at 27 had a house, a family. A stable job, hobbies and social circles and it was all just so painfully grown up. I don’t feel grown up. I honestly feel like a floundering teenager most of the time. I don’t have a house or children or dinner parties. I have some degrees and a crushing amount of student loan debt. That doesn’t make me feel grown up, though – it makes me feel very small.

I know there are people further behind and further along at all ages. I don’t even know what point I’m referencing distance from and to. Adulthood? Success? Accomplishment, accolades from someone, a stamp of approval from somewhere? If that’s what I’m waiting for, I know not to hold my breath. These things may never, likely will never show up on my door step waiting for me to unwrap them. No one is driving up in a limo with my Adult of the Year badge. So why is it so hard to say, screw it? I don’t feel like an adult? Fine, who cares. Why do I think everyone is secretly judging my every move?

I wish I could say 27 is going to be the year I kick all the bullshit, the year old insecurities stop following me around like lost puppies. The year of bigger and better and confidence and ass-kicking. I can’t, though. It would be a lie. I can promise 27 will be a year of more neurotic hand-wringing and list making and excessive worry keeping me up at night. Of holding myself up to this invisible ideal, measuring myself by a yardstick I’m not even fully sure I understand. I can promise to try, though. To reality check myself, try to give myself a break, take a chance to live in the happiness of now. To accept my happiness, even if it doesn’t make sense or wouldn’t make someone else happy. To work towards removing the shackles of self-doubt, and to forgive myself when I can’t fully shake them.

Bring it, 27.

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10 Responses to “Another year older and a lot less bolder than you used to be”

  1. soundhippy May 31, 2012 at 3:37 pm #

    Are we like…the same person?! I’m 29 and feel the same way/have the same thoughts and worries. The good news? We’re not alone! I have a few friends who regularly remind me that most nobody really has it all figured out. Some people just hide it better than others…or so I tell myself. Happy belated birthday, by the way! 🙂

    • Cally June 1, 2012 at 9:39 am #

      Yeah, I’m sure no one has it figured out completely. We both need to cut ourselves some slack.

  2. soundhippy May 31, 2012 at 3:38 pm #

    *That should read “nobody really has it all figured out”, not “most nobody”.

  3. Cami June 1, 2012 at 12:28 pm #

    Am I allowed to wish you a happy birthday? Hehe ❤

    • Cally June 1, 2012 at 4:53 pm #

      Of course! Thanks! 🙂

  4. Nikki June 3, 2012 at 9:05 pm #

    Happy belated birthday friend!!

  5. Sarah Pardieck (@NoticeDirt) June 4, 2012 at 9:06 am #

    Happy Birthday!! You’ve beautifully written what I remember feeling like at 27 and all I can say is that over the next few years much of that anxiety will start to ebb and you’ll really REALLY settle in to your shoes in the most amazing way. And ignore all the bullshit about where you “should” be in life and what “adult” means. They’re worthless concepts. You are exactly, in every way, where you should be. And here’s a truth: Your next decade or so will be the best of your life. Not because you’ve checked off the “how to be an adult” list or because you’ve achieved some something, but because you’ll suddenly start to realize that you really Just. Don’t. Care. about those things any more. That last paragraph? Yeah, I’m hearing Just. Don’t. Care is starting to settle in to your bones 🙂

    • Nikki June 4, 2012 at 11:43 am #

      Well said Sarah! that’s so refreshing to hear from someone I admire and trust, such as yourself! As a girl in my 27th year, I often feel the same as Cally.

    • Cally June 4, 2012 at 5:31 pm #

      Oh, I sure hope so. The promise of that might make 30 easier to swallow. 🙂

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