Monday, January 4, 2016

A Birthday Memoir: Or How Turning 27 Was the BEST Thing Ever

Well, it's that time of the year again, when Brown Eyed Girl turns another year older and wiser too (or so she'd like to believe). Don't worry, I'm not going to write in the 3rd person this whole time... ;)  I have a yearly tradition I rather enjoy keeping up, where I write a short Memoir on my Birthday that sort of reflects on the last year and looks towards the coming year. Isn't that what New Years is for? you ask. Yes, many (most?) people go through the same sort of process on New Years, but my Birthday is my special day and I'll do what I want. ;)

So I turned 27 this year and I have to say, it's ALREADY quite different than any other birthday I've had thus far. It wasn't necessarily a conscious decision, but it seemed like once I turned 27, I no longer cared what people thought of me and my life. You see, this had always been a problem in my early twenties; I used to spend a great deal of time worrying what others thought and I never felt I measured up. I worried how they saw me, as a person, my life, the decisions I've made, the way my life had turned out, etc. 

Yes, a great deal of stress and anxiety had been devoted to worrying about all these things and more. Maybe it was because my life had gone in a direction contrary to those within my sub-culture and I didn't have the self-confidence to get past expectations and reality. But suddenly, I didn't care anymore. Don't get me wrong, I still have insecurities and other things I'm dealing with, but I no longer cared or thought about how people thought about me or my life, and I started living for me. It's so freeing when your thoughts are Will this make me happy? or This is what I want/don't want instead of how will this make me look? or I hope it looks like I don't care about ____ or Maybe if I fake being happy long enough, it will actually happen. 

There is so much pressure and anxiety in your early twenties, and somehow, that just sort of evaporates in your late twenties. Maybe evaporates is the wrong word, shifts is probably more accurate. In your early twenties, you care more about how OTHER people think about you/your life/your looks/your happiness/your choices/etc. In your late twenties, you sort of realize that you have to live with yourself the rest of your life, so you'd better find a way to enjoy it. You become concerned with your happiness, for your own sake, and not any others. You may still be doing the same actions, but the motivations are different. You notice that you're doing them for you, and not for anyone else. 

I'm not sure if that makes any sense, so in full disclosure, I'll give you some examples from my own experiences:

     1. You start listening to your "guilty pleasures" without turning the "private session" button ON on Spotify, or listening with your windows down, loud and proud. And you realize that it's not even a "guilty pleasure" anymore because WHY SHOULD I FEEL GUILTY ABOUT LIKING WHAT I LIKE?! Now they're just pleasures, screw worrying about being "cool" or whatever the heck that's supposed to mean anyways. 
          Ex: Taylor Swift. Loud and proud

     2. You find yourself wearing make up because it makes YOU feel good or you like doing it, not because you feel like you "NEED" to or people expect you to.
         Ex: Running errands Saturday morning without makeup on because I can now do it without feeling disgusting or wearing a super dark shard or lipstick because I LIKE IT, regardless if other people think it's "too dark" or whatever. It makes ME happy, so I'm doing it. 

     3. You find yourself wanting to do yoga/run/lift weights or go to the gym (or whatever form of exercise you do) not to "be thin" or "lose weight" or fit societally based gendered expectations or so that other people are attractive, but because it makes YOU feel good and you ENJOY it. 
        Ex: Yoga. Not because it's "cool", but because it genuinely makes my muscles feel good, alleviates my stress, and makes me feel more relaxed. Oh yeah, and my joints are already arthritic and it's low impact. :)

You also start completely changing behaviors you'd never really thought about before. Such as:

      4. You start being choosy with your group of friends. Friends are extremely important, and you notice that while your amount of friends may be dwindling, your relationships are actually growing, in new, sturdier ways. You have fewer friends, yes, but you also have fewer "frenemies" and A LOT less drama. And the friends you do have are so close, they're like actual family. Oh! And your family becomes more of a group of friends than ever before.
       Ex: I used to have a lot of friends and a lot of different groups of friends. Nowadays, I'm content with hanging out with the same set of people, without feeling the need to keep adding to my friends circle. Not that I wouldn't if I didn't meet someone who I really loved, but I don't really go out looking to make new friends anymore. I have amazing friends, they are few, but they are AMAZING, and my relationships with them are deep and complex and vital to my being. And my family has become a group of my best friends. I actually hang out with them the most!

     5. You start appreciating nights/weekends spent IN rather than going OUT. You are busy now, always on the go, and you may even commute A LOT, which means you actually look forward to getting home, getting into your pjs, eating dinner on the couch and catching up on your shows. You rarely go out on the weekdays, and if you do, it's to the store on the way home because you need something essential. (tampons, deodorant, Panda Express, or you know, chocolate.)   Weekends are spent basically the same way. 
        Ex: If it's 8 pm on a Friday and Saturday and I haven't left the house to go out, it's not going to happen. Unless I'm going to Bestie's ((in my pjs)) for a movie night. And NOTHING happens on Sunday evenings after 6. Helloooooo, I have work in the morning. My accomplishments will be showering and going to bed on time,not getting stuck on Pinterest looking at AMAZING bathrooms .  Have you seen how big some of those free-standing tubs can get??  :::drooling:::
     6. You realize that sleep is the HOLY GRAIL and almost NOTHING else matters as much. 
        Ex: I'm still a night owl, but I WILL make sure that on the weekends, I get a full 9 hours of sleep. maybe even 10 if I'm feeling jazzy. On the weekdays, the struggle is real, and it's more like 7. Which is awful. Because no human being should have to live off of 7 hours of sleep. It's inhumane. But I deal with it until the weekend and the sleeeeeeeep. Gloriously. Do NOT expect me to be out of bed, or heaven forbid showered, before noon. It won't happen and you'll only be disappointing yourself, because I'll be living the dream

All-in-all, I'm glad 26 is over, it was a rough year for me, dealing with A LOT of things emotionally, and I'm actually REALLY glad my early and mid twenties are over, because I actually think I'm really going to ENJOY my late twenties. It's been wonderful this first month! Here's to another year, hopefully my next year's Memoir will be just as hopeful! 

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