Last week I turned that magical age where I am now not quite in my mid 20’s but also way too young to be considered amongst the dreaded “late 20’s”. During the last few years I spent my birthdays in quite the metropolitan fashion, ringing in each year with those I loved most in the city I adored. Birthdays in London meant birthday drinks with friends at the pub, eating at French restaurants in Covent Garden, or seeing Les Miserables on Shaftesbury Avenue. Those were exceptional birthdays, don’t get me wrong, but 27 was a birthday that I have been looking forward to in a way that I haven’t before.
To those that know me well, you know that 26 was, lets just say, a difficult year for me. There were many truly wonderful moments but I have longed for a “refresh button” of sorts for a while. I have vowed that my 27th birthday will be just that: a new beginning. A year can feel so simultaneously long and short and my refresh starts by doing the one thing I struggle most to do: letting myself off the hook.
When I say letting myself off I do not mean to give myself carte blanche in doing whatever I want to without consequences. What it means to me is to let myself breathe and enjoy moments without the self-induced anxiety-ridden moments that often ruin them. For as long as I can remember I have always worried about how others perceive me as a human being. It was always a battle of dichotomy in my mind that really is more harmful than helpful; am I good or bad? Successful or unsuccessful? Do they approve or disapprove? This last one has caused me the most anxiety throughout the years and has led me to near breakdowns more times than I can count.
I have this inner battle inside of my head at all times between doing what I want and what I perceive others to want for me. In a world where there is so much information at ones fingertips, it can be easy for too many opinions to be heard. While I value and seek the advice of others, sometimes I just want to say “butt out and let me find my own way”. Sometimes the right way comes about by at first taking the wrong way and that is ok. Those times open our eyes to what we have within us- for me I realized the depths of my heart and the endless love I can feel for another person. Finding my own path also reminds me that I don’t have to be perfect/focused/responsible/settled right now, at least not in the way people seem to interpret those words. A husband, babies, or a house won’t make the approval-based anxiety go away. It just masks it. So before I do all of that, if I want to do all of that, I am going to take my 27th year and focus on quieting the anxiety. I’m going to let myself off the hook and do what makes me feel best when it feels best. We all have a narrative that we live by. Mine is to seek adventure, love with a full heart, and to always find my own way.
Happy 27th birthday to me! 🙂