Today is June 28th. I turned 28 years old at the beginning of the month, something that came and went like an old friend who so comfortably walks through the door without saying hello and leaves without saying goodbye. That is to say, I didn’t really think about turning older this year. It somehow just happened.
On the morning of my birthday, I looked in the mirror at my 28 year old reflection. I didn’t feel any different. I still worried about my life and wondered if I was making the most of it. I still felt pressured, and rushed, and dissatisfied. When I looked at myself, I only saw a girl who had never properly learned French, or been to Argentina, and who, perhaps, never would.
Have I done enough? Should I be doing more, seeing more, being more? This is what I constantly asked myself. And I constantly looked at everything I could have been doing, instead of appreciating the things I did do. Even my mom says that I’m always looking for something. But what?
Somebody once told me that in some ways, my life only truly started when I graduated from highschool – which means I’ve really only been alive for 10 years. And in those 10 years, I’ve desperately tried my best to really live – at least, in the way I thought living was.
I think about myself as a person…though I’ve been to many places all over the world, in many ways, I’ve stayed exactly where I’ve always been. I’m still plagued by the same insecurities, still troubled by the same fears, still uncertain of the same doubts.
But at 28 years old, I am still…becoming. I still have so much learning and growing to do. Still so much to learn about my own happiness and my own heart.
Looking back, the most noticeable difference I see between who I was then and who I am trying to be now, is that before, I was relying on external things to make me happy: travel, new experiences, relationships, financial security, being thinner, getting a book published…
But I’m finally realizing that happiness shouldn’t depend on these things. I need to find love inside myself. I need to look for joy within me, seek peace within me, find fulfillment within me. Not in Paris, or in the arms of a man, or looking out the window of that apartment I thought I wanted: but here, in my body, my mind, my heart.
Because if the disorder of this year and the disruption of all my well-made plans have taught me anything, it’s that any of these things can be ripped from me, suddenly and without warning. But until my life is ripped from me, I will always have myself.
It’s been 27 days since I’ve turned 28. Now, when I look in the mirror, I do feel different. I feel older, and I guess that’s because I am. In many ways, I think I’ve grown more in the 27 days that I’ve been 28 than I have in the past 27 years.
Growing really hurts. But something tells me, it’ll all be worth it.