27th Birthday

It’s my birthday! Wow, this takes me back. Writing about my birthday on my blog. I used to write a “birthday entry” every year back when I had a LiveJournal and I did that rigorously for at least 10 years (even more if you count the years prior to that where I had an Italian blog). It was a real tradition for me. Every time, I would get swamped with “happy birthday” comments and it made me really happy to receive those.

As the years went by, I started using these “birthday entries” to reflect on myself, to write about how it felt to be older (if it did) and how I felt in general. So this is the kind of entry that this post is going to be. ?

Firstly, even though I don’t really like admitting it… I’m turning 27 this year. In a way, it feels like I’ve been 27 for a whole year already: even though I was 26, what I really kept thinking was, “I’m almost 27.” When I had my depressive episodes where I would tell myself how much of a ‘failure’ I was for not achieving things (i.e. not having a degree yet, not having a career yet, etc.), I would always say, “I am turning 27” — sometimes I would even just outright think, “I am 27 years old.” So it feels… kind of weird to actually be 27. In my mind, I’ve been 27 for a long time already; I really did not get to enjoy being 26 or even feel 26 much this year. But then again, I barely felt like myself for a long stretch of time — from the beginning of autumn in 2017 until the coming of spring this year — thanks to depression. So really, with half the year gone and my birthday being in summer, I only had around 5-6 months to feel 26. So, it’s definitely peculiar to “officially” be 27, just because I’d felt like I already was for so long.

Nevertheless, even though the number 27 makes me feel old and stresses me out a bit because it’s so close to 30… I feel okay being 27. I know I’m not where I thought I would be by this age, but… I am okay with it.

I spent half of my 26th year beating myself up for not being where I thought I should be. But one thing I have really come to terms with this year is that it doesn’t matter. And also that there’s no rush in life. It’s not a competition, it’s not a race. People just are all at different stages in their lives at different points.

I know people who are younger than me who went to uni straight out of high school, got a degree before me and are now trying to get started on their career; others instead have just become lost after graduation. I know people who are older than me and who have also just started their degrees and when they’ll be finished, they’ll be even older than when I’ll be graduating; and that’s perfectly okay, even great, because we’re following our dreams and now that we are older we have more of a plan. I know people who are working but would like to change career; I know others who are happy with what they have, with whatever job they can find. All of it is just different stages, at different ages, with different goals… and it’s all fine and valid. It’s all okay, no matter what stage you are at now.

That’s the one big lesson I learned in my 26th year of life. I struggled to accept where I was because I thought it wasn’t where I should be… but there’s no “should”, no rule that says I should be at X stage at X years old.

Besides, I achieved plenty of things outside of the realm of academia/work this year. In autumn, I was lost, I didn’t know what I wanted to do in life. Of course, it wasn’t fun feeling that way, but I did eventually figure out a path, a path that is starting in two weeks. I’m going back to university to study writing, photography, radio and video production, among other creative things, and I can’t wait! I’m also relocating to a new city, which means I will get a nice change of scenery, and I will be moving into a delightful and lovely flat, which will do wonders for my mood. After years of negativity, things are finally looking up for me and I can get my shot at a little happiness. ?

I guess I’m just proud of myself for enduring the negative stuff for so long, for holding out and never giving up, even in the face of despair. I am proud that I dealt with and defeated depression and suicidal thoughts. I am happy that I figured out a path, I am happy that that path is starting, I am happy that I have plans and I hope this will lead to the career that I want and to the financial stability that I need. I am happy that, in general, I have a lot to look forward to again. ❤

So here’s to my 27th birthday! May my 27th year bring a lot of happiness and positive changes into my life. ?

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