I glanced up at the security monitors at the self-checkout lane in Walmart and saw a tired person staring back at me. Maybe it was just the life draining fluorescent lighting, but those bags under my eyes looked as if they were starring in a leading role on the stage that was my face.
It was that moment I felt the heavy realization I was turning 28.
I can’t say I’m dreading my upcoming birthday, but I am hyper-aware 30 is two years away.
I think my biggest concern about getting older is losing my fast metabolism, or the possibility of going bald one day, or failing to understand ‘what the kids are saying these days’.
In reality though, turning 28 isn’t so bad. (For all of you who are scolding me that 28 is in fact not old and that I am overreacting, just let me have this. I’m sure you had the same emotions on your 28th birthday.)
Despite what I said above, I don’t want to be that person who dreads getting older. I’m excited to see what year 28 has to offer.
Last year, around this time, I remember a string of days where I was feeling down for no particular reason. It was one of those times where you feel like life is moving in slow motion and you are just ‘stuck’. It’s the worst.
Despite my lack of motivation, I invited friends to go to a museum with me, but our schedules weren’t lining up. So, I went by myself.
It turns out I had a lot of fun.
After that trip, I decided when I turned 27, I was going to make a greater effort to experience as much as I could.
I wasn’t going to let fear hold me back from life. Whether that meant going solo, or riding in a crowded car with friends, I wanted to go and see and do. And I did.
I forced myself to spend weekends at the park, visit friends in Savannah, hit the gym consistently, work hard at my job, and I even braved a solo vacation across the country.
27 was a good year….
…but 27 wasn’t a perfect year.
If you scroll through my Instagram feed, you’ll see pictures filtered in ocean blues and summer greens. My life, however, isn’t always filled with exciting places and picturesque scenes.
Life is filled with good days and not so great days. Sometimes, there are moments I want to cry in the corner and stuff my face with ice cream.
But that’s life.
Switchfoot has a song called “Needle and Haystack Life” that I love. I first heard it during my freshman year of college, and there is a line that has stuck with me since. “We’re breathing in the highs and lows... we call it living in this needle and haystack life…”
What profound lyrics. No matter who you are, life is comprised of Highs and Lows’. That’s just how it is. So you might as well embrace it.
I want to experience the joyful times and the gloomy times to the fullest. Getting older means there will be laughter-lines and crows-feet, but there will also be friends, and family, and hope. Whatever year 28 brings my way, I’m excited, somewhat nervous, a little terrified, but not apathetic.
It may not be your birthday today, but I hope whatever this year brings your way you can embrace it too.