Birthday Time

Until recently, I was convinced that I was 27 years old. My boyfriend did the math for me during the summer, when I was so stubbornly sure that I could.not.possibly be only 26. Turns out, he was right.

It’s my birthday this week. I will be turning 27. I did that math, and I’m sure it’s true.

This birthday ushers me into the last stretch of my 20’s, which brings a bit of reflection and a tremendous amount of relief. My 20’s have been jam-packed with all manner of awesome and ouch. I’ve created the strongest friendships I’ve ever know, I’ve run marathons, and I’ve taken on and succeeded in roles that I couldn’t have dreamt of for myself 7 years ago. But, I’ve also found myself with more questioning, confusion, and fear than I would care to readily admit.

My 20’s have been a series of land-in-my-lap opportunities, curious observations, painful self-discoveries, and lessons on how to stretch, adapt, and find room for it all to fit. These past seven years have sometimes felt strange and  uncomfortable, an ugly truth which I have fought and ignored with equal measure.

But then I talk to other people, and women in particular. Women whose assertiveness, style, zest, and grace give me something to strive for. These women are generously blessed with more years and experience than I, and they tell me that all of this confusion and discomfort grows more simple the longer you keep at it. They tell me that life doles out situations and challenges that reveal our personal shadows, our resolve, and the strongest versions of ourselves. And really, it’s the strongest version of ourselves that we’re all working to uncover, right?

I’ve noticed, more so within the last two or three years, that each year leaves me with a clearer sense of my particular strengths, a better gauge for what works for my life, and a little less hesitation to re-arrange accordingly. I owe that to my 20’s. To which, I say:

Cheers to 27.

Cheers to the next three years.

Cheers to all that undoubtably lies ahead.

Tell me: If you’re in your 20’s, how are you doing? What have been the challenges and the triumphs? If you’ve already got your 20’s under your belt, what do you remember most about them? What did you learn?