Hello 28, I’ve been waiting for you. Normally, I’d plan some big celebration, but I’m over all that; the fact that you’ve arrived is causing much gratitude.
Last year it was so important for me to welcome 27. I hadn’t celebrated a birthday in four years, and I felt like it was time for my own party.
23, I threw a birthday party for myself and no one showed up; 24, I had lived in San Francisco for five days; 25, a friend got married, and 26 the same, so 27 was going to be my year.
This self-celebration went a bit too far and I ended up having to apologize to my friends for jumping into a swimming pool in my underwear and attempting to inappropriately chicken-fight. While laughable, I felt a lot of shame about it, “that was something I should’ve done at 24,” I thought.
Now, looking back, the fact that I even thought a certain number, a certain year was going to mine seems ridiculous to me; like a narcissistic, immature fantasy of being “fabulous” with no meaning. It seems like the sort of thing a person who swims in their underwear would say.
I don’t know what shifted over this past year, but I am sure that a lot did. It’s hard to find the words for it; life just slowly got very quiet.
I reduced my volunteering responsibilities, worked a lot, and saw a handful of friends leave my life; their parting words weren’t kind. I began to spend a lot of weekends at home by myself, writing, going to Yoga and cooking.
With all the reductions: the less friends, the less responsibilities, it gave me time and space to just sit with myself, and while outwardly lazy, even depressive sloth-like, I began to reflect where I was, how I was being, and if I had been being true to the values that sat inside.
Then I met a boy (or man, right? I am now 28), and we fell in love.
It surprised me. He lived in a different country, and while I’ve proclaimed I didn’t have a vision in my mind of what I wanted, I learned that I did. He challenged that, but more importantly, he really saw me; like in that cheesy Avatar kind of way; like where they look at each other and say, “I see you,” and for those who haven’t seen the movie I hope you get what I mean.
Between the quiet and love, I began to peel off another layer of self, scratch away at the lacquer that can pile on.
I know that I still have a journey ahead of me; I know that things might not work out with the boy, there are no guarantees, but I am certain that I am entering a new year reconnected to what I really value.
This past weekend I celebrated a friend’s marriage, cleaned my apartment, read two books, worked and wrote; I want to bring all of that into 28; a year of celebrating others, doing what I love and keeping it clean.
Then next year, I’ll be somewhere writing about how hard it is to say goodbye; how certain years are special, stand out amongst the others, and I hope that 28 will be one of them.