jessica tholmer
August 17, 2015 1:12 pm

I turn 28 years old today, but as I write this, I am still 27. I go back and forth, sometimes feeling like time is arbitrary and age doesn’t matter and blah blah blah, but there are times when I feel the opposite. There are times when I think, WAIT. This is all a big deal. Because the difference between 27 and 28 doesn’t have to be huge, but sometimes it is. For me, it was. 27 brought a lot of stuff that I’m not even going to reflect on—which means I have enough to reflect on to make the choice of leaving stuff out. Whaaat? Look, the 20s are a big deal. Life is hard, and people make choices, and some of them are huge, and some of them are not, and crying is OK. So, you are welcome for this rare personal EINTKILF.

EINTKILF Being 27

1. Low key birthdays are the best.
On my 27th birthday, I saw Boyhood at my small, local theater. Sure, I went out the night before with a few of my closest friends. Sure, I had a glass of champagne and a cupcake after the movie. But honestly when I think about my 27th birthday, I think about Boyhood and the word “simple” comes to mind. In no way do I think the movie was simple. It took 12 years and a lot of commitment and a bunch of fantastic actors and a small budget. But what I loved about Boyhood was that it was really, honestly simplified. It was about a boy and his upbringing. There was nothing huge in the plot, there was nothing shocking or unrealistic or unbelievable. It helped me ring in my new age, full of hope and tears in my eyes.

2. Don’t go breaking hearts.
Without being like “woe is me, here’s my love life,” I’ll just say that I have had my heart broken a lot, but I also now have the badge of honor for breaking even. I hurt some feelings this year; the feelings of men I actually care a lot about. Hey, it happens, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it needs to happen. Looking back, I would have made some different decisions, and I hope they would have as well.

3. Befriend the youths.
Though I met this group of gals before I was 27, I solidified my friendship with one of them after my birthday. I have a really good friend who is only 21 years old, and though I refrain from being one of those “older” people who is like, “When I was your age…,” the age difference is noticeable. I watch her and her friends go through the normal dramatics of being in your young 20s, and I hope that I help and inspire them in some way. Not because I think I am wiser, but because I am older, and I know that it really does get better. That friend of mine, and her roommates, and her boy troubles, and her passion for writing, have really kept me strong and sane in this very difficult 27th year. I love her, and I recommend befriending someone younger than you for the same reasons. Plus, she’ll get you out of your house on a Friday night and sometimes—that’s a really fun thing.

4. Live alone.
Full disclosure: I live in a small-ish town with a university in it and affordable housing. I can afford to live alone because I live with my friend’s mom in a mother-in-law-house situation. Before I lived here, I lived with roommates, and I love them so much. They are like my sisters, but it was a really important time for me to live alone. I didn’t know, but I was about to need a lot of alone time. I was about to need a lot of red wine and Netflix alone nights. I was about to need a lot of going-to-sleep-at-8PM nights. Though I loved my roommates, living alone gives you a different perspective—one I really needed at 27.

5. Push yourself.
At 27, actually shortly after I turned 27, I got my first official Big Girl Job. I hate that phrase because I really, truly support people who genuinely want to be servers, bartenders, or baristas forever. To be honest, those jobs are way more fun (usually) than what society refers to as “real jobs.” They also tend to make you more money 75% of the time. (Made up statistic.) But for me personally, I chose to stick around in my college town until I found something else to do, or somewhere else to move. Based on the connections I made as a barista, I got hooked up with a small company in my town who offered me my first full-time writing job. I do social media stuff and content management and my title is something fancy with the word “Strategist” in it. Do I want to do this forever? Nah, probably not, but I got out of the coffee shop / jewelery store / call center life and started doing something that actually helped my resume, and for that I am grateful. I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t say “YES” to everything. I started as a contractor and they created a full-time position in order to keep me because I am awesome. You gotta work hard. You just have to. Push it, kids.

6. Adopt a cat.
I GOT A CAT. And no, I don’t even really love cats, but you know what? I was depressed in December, and I am not throwing that word around lightly. I was going through probably the hardest time of my life in the past 10 years and I missed my roommates and the cat I used to live with and I decided that adopting a cat was a good idea. Was it? YES, but not for my black clothing. I adopted a 4-year-old cat and it took us a couple of months to warm up to one another, but I am genuinely happy to see her every day. When I get home from work, she starts to meow at the sound of my car and waits at my window when I walk up the steps, meowing loud enough to annoy the neighborhood. She is needy, and really hairy, and she only likes expensive food, but I love her to bits and pieces.

So if you’re sad and you can make it work, get a pet. They give you a reason to not hate literally everything.

7. Travel.
Okay, full disclosure: I don’t have a passport, and when I say “travel,” I mean like three or four hours in the sky away. But that being said, everything counts. As a 27 year old, I went to California and Phoenix, and I also went to California right before my 27th birthday, and I also went to Portland, and Seattle like 50 times. OK, sure, I live really close to most of those places, but it is important to leave your town and get out and see people and visit your family and friends and make real life connections. I have really good friends in Phoenix and they have/had really good friends in Phoenix, so going to see them means I made even stronger connections with the people I love’s people. It all rounds out, I swear. Go visit. I am writing this before my trip to LA for my birthday, but when you guys read it, I’ll be in LA and I will have met some dear Twitter friends and all of my wonderful HelloGiggles editors and I love those connections. Get out there. You’ll learn stuff. You’ll meet people who change your life.

8. Changing your mind is okay.
I am really stubborn because I am a Leo and also a human being. It’s OK to be stubborn and it is OK to change your mind. There are a few big life choices that I have changed my mind on throughout my 27th year. You know how when you go into a donut shop and you’re thinking you are going to get a cake donut with sprinkles but you end up with a maple bar? Like that, but sometimes politically speaking, or like…relationship speaking. It’s OK. Change your mind. Nothing is permanent.

9. Be vulnerable.
As a 27 year old, I have cried in front of more people than ever before. Is that something to celebrate? YES. Because crying is hard and no one wants to do it in front of anyone ever, but it’s OK to do it. It’s OK to talk through things and cry and be like, “I literally don’t know what I am doing.” Cry, or don’t cry, but be vulnerable.

10. Television rules.
Yeah duh, right? I was an avid television watcher when I was a kid—one of those “raised by TV” types, but after Friends ended and I went to college, I stopped watching stuff. This year, for whatever reason (big breakups, living alone, having a 9-5) I started watching television again. In the past year, I have watched everything I missed out on including Parks and Rec, new Netflix shows, Game of Thrones, Parenthood, and Friday Night Lights, among many others. And you know what? Watching shows is awesome. It keeps you relevant and it keeps you away from annoying bars on a Friday night. OWN IT AND LOVE IT. This is 27 (and forever more).

Featured image . All other images via my iPhone.

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