i am turning 27 in a few weeks. i have always found birthdays to be more of a time for reflection than new years. i am inclined to use this as an opportunity to explain all of the mixed up thoughts swimming around in my head right now, but i won’t get into all of that.
the other day at lunch, my sweet father asked me how things are going and my response was, “have you ever had an existential crisis?” over salads, he told me something like this too shall pass and that i should stop being so depressing. ultimately, he is correct. i am trying to get over my freshman-in-college-home-for-the-summer attitude of “what are we all even doing?” but that still leaves me with other related topics to dwell on in my free time.
for instance, recently, i went to new york city to reunite with a group of my high school friends. going home is hard for me. it’s a lot of reminders of things that were supposed to be a certain way but aren’t. it’s a lot of reminders of mistakes i’ve made and things i would have done differently. so when i saw the familiar faces at brunch on a chilly saturday, it took everything in me to not burst into tears and really be a bummer for everyone. it was fun and it was good and it was sad and it was nostalgic in a difficult way to process. i looked around the table at brunch and i felt love. but i also was hit with a realization that stung: we weren’t kids anymore. our innocence of lacrosse games and gravel parking lots and natural lites in basements had been washed away. the freedom we found driving around back roads and eating pizza five times a week and staying 100 pounds and pushing our curfews was a thing of the past. and that’s not good or bad. it’s just a thing. and it makes me feel relieved and unstable at the same time.
for a few days after i returned home, i was kind of bummed out. i felt like life was flashing before my eyes and like i was getting older and i couldn’t stop it. i felt like i had no real plan. cue the existential crisis.
but now that i’ve taken a moment to feel these things, i choose to take away this one thing: how lucky am i that i have friends in my life who make me feel so strongly? who make me take pause and think things through? who inspire me to reflect on where i have been and where i am going? my shock of oh my god we are all so grown up. we are all so far from where we were. was not actually a thing to cry over. it was a thing to value. i have been very hung up over the years of not having a “hometown” because my family no longer has the house that i grew up in. but around that table at brunch with too-sweet (but effective) bottomless margaritas and smiling faces, i recovered my hometown. it was right there in front of me. and after all these years, it wasn’t going anywhere.
and that is certainly something to smile about. and that is certainly a reminder of the meaning of life, to the extent i needed such a reminder.
but, as i said, i’m not going to get into all of that. to stay on theme with the high school reunion thing, as a sort of yearbook/scrapbook concept, here are the things (other than books) that i am enjoying as turn one year older.
here’s to 27. and the rest of the years (which all matter, and will all have their special purpose for me) ahead.