I remember as a child getting so excited about my birthday. I would start counting down the “sleeps” in November, and look forward to all the possibilities that being a full year older entailed. I remember adults telling me “one day you will dread your birthday you know” (I don’t know what kind of miserable sod it was who told me this, but I remember the message vividly) and I just couldn’t understand why someone wouldn’t look forward to growing up!
Well, folks, I have officially reached the age where I have had enough birthdays. And although I am not quite approaching every birthday with a sense of foreboding (I mean presents and parties and lots of attention count for SOMETHING!) I am not exactly counting down the days either.
Over the years (as I start getting older… eek!) I have been noticing some patterns emerging in my life, both good and bad. Today is my birthday, and on this occasion I am considering some things I expect to continue (and possibly intensify) now that I am 27:
More weddings and babies on Facebook
I remember a couple of years ago when the first of my Facebook “friends” (read: very loose acquaintances) started announcing their engagements on the ‘book. It was quaint and thrilling, like losing a first tooth, or getting a pen license. “Ah, my friends are starting to get married..”. Nowadays I’m seeing a lot fewer mini-dress-and-hooker-heels selfies, and a lot more weddings and babies… This makes me feel very old. And slightly behind! ;)
Finding more grey hairs
I have always suffered from a slightly obsessive nature, and from a very young age I have gone through phases of fixating on a particular body part. When I was ten I became convinced that I had kankles (to be fair, this obsession lasted well into my teens), in my early twenties I thought I had “baby knees”. My Mother often recalls (and disparagingly recounts) a period when I was obsessed with my eyebrows (I’m sure she’s making it up, I have great eyebrows ;)). At the moment, my new thing is tired eyes (although last time I was in Sephora I purchased this, this and this, and suddenly my life is that little bit better) (PS: Have you seen Sephora has opened a store in Australia? Once they get Intimissimi and Miss Selfridge then I can really move back).
Oh, and ever since a particularly stressful year with my current employer, I have had several grey hairs :S
Nights out are harder to recover from
When I was 18 I used to be able to go out partying all night (in a skimpy dress, no coat, and torturously high heels) drink vodka raspberry after vodka raspberry (maybe throw in a Jaegerbomb), then eat an entire Junior Whopper with Cheese meal in order to prepare myself for the 90 minute journey home to my parents’ place on the Night Rider bus (sometimes I would be a princess and call my Dad to come pick me up from Knox City – which is a ten minute drive from home – before the Night Rider took a heartbreaking detour in the other direction for half an hour before finally dropping me off at the local cemetery.. Yeah, great route planning, right?). Then, after only several hours sleep, I would roll out of bed feeling fresh and energized (hangover free on all but three noteworthy occasions) and ready for a seven hour shift at my weekend retail job.
Nowadays, the thought of heading out for a night on the town without a coat is sheer madness (even before I moved to Europe) and sky-high heels are reserved for very special occasions. For the most part, my nights out tend to be Jaegerbomb-free (although sometimes I deem it a good idea to take a Tequila shot, and that NEVER ends well). I usually get tired at about midnight, and the next morning I would be just as likely to be fit for a retail job as I would be to eat a Junior Whopper with Cheese meal. In fact, after a big night out I am hardly fit for my grown up job on Monday… The good old days, right? ;)
I can’t look at a small child without feeling a strange primal urge
OK, so this one is really creepy! I’ve always loved kids, and I definitely want one EVENTUALLY, but about a year ago something really strange started happening. I would see a cute little kid on the subway, and suddenly I felt like I was at a Boxing Day shoe sale. I know I don’t need/want one, but I start feeling overpowered by this strange urge to get one anyway. Bloody hormones.. Ugh!
But like I said, it’s not all bad. There are also some very good things about being 27, and I am willing to take the bad with the good:
My book collection is growing
I mean this in both a literal and a metaphorical sense (in fact, the well-documented growth of my book collection is something that gives me cold chills whenever I consider leaving Munich and transporting it to whichever city I end up in next).
But yeah, I’ve read a lot of books. I’ve gone back and read books for the second and third time years later, and I always seem to “get them” a little better. You can live for years and years without gaining wisdom and experience, but you can’t gain wisdom and experience without living years and years. I plan to “read a lot of books” while I’m on this planet, and every year is an opportunity to “add to my collection”.
My credit card limit is growing
At this point of my life, I have worked hard; I have earned some stripes. I have obtained some grey hairs in the process, but I have also gained a pretty comfortable lifestyle for myself. Now that I am in Germany for another year the Deutsche Bank has FINALLY consented to give me a credit card (my bank in Australia will probably report a loss next year as a result of the international fees they will lose from me) and I nearly fell off my chair when they gave me the first proposal for my limit. When I compare that to the limit I had on my very first credit card, I have come a long way.
I say this not to gloat (I’m the first one to admit when I’m gloating, but actually I spend a lot of time feeling guilty about these sorts of things. The last time I got a pay rise I rang my Mother half in tears). Rather, I like to see the credit card limit as a symbol of the rewards I have earned through hard work and determination. And when I think of it like that I feel a lot less guilty about shopping sprees in Lisbon and last-minute trips to Amsterdam. I’ve worked hard, I’ve earned it – why not enjoy it too?
I am much more comfortable in my own skin (and my own clothes!)
I mentioned before that, these days, you won’t catch me late at night walking the streets in high-heels and a skimpy dress. That might leave me feeling older, but it also leaves me feeling much more... comfortable. When I was 18 I felt like I needed to endure painful footwear and expose basically my entire legs in order to rack up more dancefloor pashes… These days, I don’t. This is a very good thing.
If I’m cold, I wear a coat. I appreciate the wonders of clever tailoring. I own harem pants (3 pairs!). I sometimes leave the house wearing trackies and no makeup. I really cherish this.
I know who I am (well, I’m getting there…)
You don’t spend 26 years with a person without coming to know their ins and outs. Just like there are parts of my body I like, and parts that I don’t; there are aspects of my personality that I like, and aspects I don’t.
My amazing mentor Gry has given me a lot of advice, but there is one piece that sticks with me in particular: “Don’t try to fix your faults at the expense of your strengths”.
These days the focus is on spending time enhancing my best features, and just trying to be comfortable with my flaws – in all aspects of my life. I’m not claiming I’m super successful in this by any means, but at least I have the right intention.
Has anyone else experienced any of these strange phenomena? And for those of you more "wise and experienced" than me, what else do I have to look forward to?
Also, I have set up an Index page on the blog. You should have a look :)