On Turning 27: Caring Less and Living More

For many reasons, I’m glad that the month of May is behind us. However, I had a few content ideas related to the 27th birthday I celebrated this May that I just didn’t get around to writing last month. So even if I’m a bit late to the birthday post game this year, I still want to share a few thoughts on turning 27 for posterity’s sake. In general, I’m a person who likes to reflect on goals, progress and what is going on in my life at two major points each year: the New Year’s holiday and my birthday. While New Year’s Eve tends to be a positive time for reflection and goal-setting, I haven’t always felt quite so positive about my birthday… especially these past few years.

Let's face it, these birthdays between 21 and 27 haven’t all been a cakewalk.

Early on in my twenties, I was constantly worrying about choosing the wrong path. There’s an opportunity cost related to pursuing international trips to new countries with every spare penny: I’m still renting a tiny studio in Nashville, for one thing. I’m also 110% single at age 27: a status that, despite a few short-term changes, hasn’t been seriously updated in years.

What has changed is that I don’t feel guilty for saying that I wouldn’t have wanted to spend my twenties any other way.

The biggest difference that I’ve noticed over this past year (and even over these past few months in particular) is that I’m less apologetic than I used to be about designing and living a life that makes me happy. And thank goodness for that, because it is about time.

I know from personal experience that women in their twenties are excellent at playing the comparison game (and social media makes comparing yourself to others so easy that it’s difficult to avoid). Even when we’re doing exactly what we want to be doing, we’re worrying about what we’re giving up to do that thing. If I was 22 right now, I’d probably be getting ready to head downtown with my friends who texted an invite… even if I honestly needed a night in.

Here at age just-turned 27, I’m writing blog posts on my balcony at 9:30pm, I’ve already washed my makeup off... and I couldn't be happier.

So far, it seems like 27 is one of those in-between years where you aren’t really sure if you should still tell people that you are in your mid-twenties...

... and you aren’t really sure if drinking past midnight is a good idea. You are sure of the fact that many people your age are getting pregnant on purpose, and in general things in your core group of friends are changing a lot.

I’ve thankfully gotten past that big push of weddings that occurred the first few years after graduating college here in the South, where it felt like almost everyone I knew was getting married. Nowadays, more of my career-driven, well-traveled best friends who spent some time (or a lot of time) in their twenties being single are planning to tie the knot in the near future.

Honestly, this set of pending weddings makes me really excited.

I think the reason I’m so excited for these girls who waited a little later to get married because they did their own thing first... and for my good friends who are pursuing graduate school in their late twenties or preparing to pursue graduate school in their thirties, and for my girls who are single because they love being single, and for my friends who are figuring out a way to buy their first piece of real estate on one income here in the hottest real estate market in America, and for my friends who are pursuing country number 20 on their list, and for those pursuing country number 1 on their list, and for those who finally landed that job that both pays the bills and makes them happy (at the same time), and for those who are picking up pieces of something they didn’t expect to break, and for those that don’t know where they’ll be in 6 months or 1 month or next weekend but they are still pushing, still getting out of bed, still pursuing a dream… is that they are all figuring out their own ways to make this life thing work for them.

There’s a lot I still haven’t figured out at 27, but I have figured out that designing a life that works for you... and living that life unapologetically... is something to be seriously proud of.

In celebration of this in-between birthday, I want to share one lesson I’m happy to have finally learned:

Care less about what others think, and you’ll suddenly find that you’re living more.

Life may be about compromise, but you can’t compromise who you are.

That aspect of life isn’t up for debate.

So go be that.