If someone asked my 13 year old self what I thought 27 looked like, I would have thought about the person I knew closest to that age, and decided from there.
I probably would have thought about a teacher, or a cousin, or someone I saw in a movie. We like to look at other people as an example of where we imagine we should, or could be. I know that by 27 my mom had me, and was close to expecting my sister. I know about the tragic musician's 27 club. I learned Ingrid Bergman was 27 when she captivated Bogart in Casablanca.
Why do we look to others as a comparison to where we stand?
I am entering the latter half of the party that is my twenties. It is like being stuck at a 10 year house party, where you enter thinking it won't be drastically different than your teens, and then you walk through the front door.
At the twenties party, someone is nursing a baby in a room upstairs, while another person is upside down taking tequila shots off a stranger. Someone is getting promoted, while another person is quitting their job to backpack across Thailand. One person is wearing a diamond ring, while the other is trying to find a hookup on an app. It looks quite different; for every stage, and for every person.
As I near the end of my twenties, I'm trying not to set goals that are attached to my age. For example, by the time I am 29, I should be here. Goal setting tied to age creates additional pressure, because if you fail to achieve a milestone by the target, there is a heavy sense of failure in that.
For example, a goal like: I want to be published by 30. What happens when I'm 31? Do all of my publishing dreams go to die in a 30 year old grave? Julia Child was 49 when Mastering the Art of French Cooking was published. If she decided that she was too old to become a chef, would her success have happened?
The important thing to do is to know yourself, and where you'd like to be, separate from people in your age range. Understand that it is always an internal struggle, not an external competition, or race.
Goals can be made at any age. Love can be found at any age. Education can begin at any age. Don't get trapped in believing that if you're not where you want to be when you blow out those candles, that you've failed. Another year is another shot to make it happen.
So this is what 27 looks like, and it's perfectly okay, because it's now.
|Photo taken by Stefania Sgambelluri in Toronto, on April 19th, 2014|