Twenty-seven

Twenty-seven.

That’s the age I turned this past week. While it may seem like a fairly insignificant age it has had my brain churning as I’ve processed being a year older. Here are a few random thoughts I’ve had as I’ve attempted to give my new age some context:

  • I am now officially in my late 20s (insert crying emoji).
  • Professional athletes my age are considered to be seasoned veterans and leaders in the locker room.
  • Many celebrities, musicians, and actors my age are well established figures in the public eye (some of which are considered washed up by the time they reach 27).
  • I am older than John Krasinski when he began playing Jim Halpert on The Office.
  • My whole body hurts for nearly a week after a somewhat exerting exercise.

Birthdays are just a strange thing in my mind. We instinctively reflect on our previous year and take note of the ways we’ve aged and grown. I had long heard that there are no real exciting birthdays after your 21st because then you just feel like you’re getting old. I’m certainly guilty of having those thoughts, as evidenced by my list above. But this year I’m going to try and look at getting older in a different light. Getting older is a good thing.

A question that drives me absolutely crazy is “where do you see yourself in five years?” It’s a standard interview question that I honestly have no idea how to answer. I barely know where I’ll be in a week, let alone five years. I do, however, view it as an interesting exercise to ask ourselves if our current situation would have been the answer to that very question five years prior. So, am I where I thought I would be now five years ago as a 22 year old?

Not at all. Five years ago I was beginning a new path in life as a recent college graduate pursuing a Master’s degree in Sports Management with aspirations to have a long career in sports. I imagined this career choice would eventually lead me to work for either the St. Louis Cardinals or St. Louis Blues where I would inevitably cross paths with my favorite athletes. I assumed not long after I would meet the girl of my dreams, settle down, move into a house, and maybe even had a baby or two. Why exactly did I assume that? Well, because it seemed like the typical timeline that everyone followed.

So where am I five years later as a recently-turned 27 year old? For starters, I am no longer working in sports. In fact, I am in my third job in five years as I have struggled to find what it is I want to do in life. Am I married with kids? Not exactly. I am actually coming off a breakup from a relationship of over a year. Well, at least I have my own place, right? Not quite. After rent on my apartment skyrocketed I determined the best course of action would be to move back in with my parents so I could save money.

Would the 22 year old version of myself have viewed my current iteration as a failure? Honestly, yes. But as I sit here writing this right now do I feel life I’ve ultimately failed myself over the last five years? Not at all. I like to think I’ve gained some wisdom as I’ve gotten older and of the things I’ve learned is this: following a preconceived “timeline” in life is just silly. Basing my sense of happiness and success on whether or not I meet societal standards will lead to the opposite result.

I feel like I’m at a very strange age. I’m old enough to where I have become jaded by society. The world isn’t this perfect place that I envisioned growing up as I’ve learned more about how things actually operate and happen. But I’m also at an age where I feel like I can make a significant difference. I have the combination of life experience and hope for the future to drive me and motivate me. And one of the beautiful things about getting older is that you accumulate more blessings, friendships, memories, and experiences with each passing year.

I could sit here and feel down about what I haven’t accomplished in life. But what good would that do? I’d rather sit here and appreciate the truly amazing people and experiences I’ve had over the last year. So that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Below is a list with 26 items. It will consist of the most important people in my life, some of my favorite experiences and memories as a 26 year old, and other random things I’ve been thankful for over the last year.

  1. My parents. Where would I be without them? That’s not a rhetorical or hypothetical question. It’s one I ask myself often, particularly these days. Whenever I hit a roadblock in life or am unsure of where to turn there they are with open arms. As embarrassing as it is to say I’ve had to move back in with my parents not once, but twice, I am even more grateful and thankful. They never treat me judgement but instead with true compassion, care, and love. Regardless of where I am in life or what I decide to do, they are my ultimate supporters.
  2. My sister, Laura. My older sister is my voice of reason, the one that will tell me the things I don’t want to hear but what I need to hear. She is somebody that sees my potential and pushes me to fulfill that potential. She, like my parents, will support me in everything I do but she is the one that will help me see things from every angle and perspective.
  3. My friends. This is broad, I know, but there are too many people to name (that is not a humble brag, I promise). There are just so many friends in my life that have helped me in so many ways. Friends that have encouraged me, friends that have inspired me, friends that have made me laugh, friends that have made me think, friends that have listened, friends that have supported me.
  4. My niece, Lily. Seeing my little 2 year old niece grow, learn, and explore has been an indescribable blessing. Every time I see her she has learned something new. Nothing will ever compare to her laughing. I’m blessed to be her Uncle Doodoo.
  5. My coworkers. Going through a job change can be very difficult. You don’t know what to expect as far as the work itself, the workplace environment, or the day to day of the job. People say that the people you work with make or break a job. I’ve very fortunate to say I have found that to be true, in a positive way. I work in an office filled with laughter every single day, a testament to how comfortable we feel around each other.
  6. My job. Since we’re on the subject, I’m also incredibly thankful for the job I have. I mentioned earlier that I have struggled with my career direction because I simply don’t know what exactly I want to do. What I do desire is a job where I can positively impact the lives of people around me and my job now allows me to do just that.
  7. My youth group. It amazes me how much a group of high schoolers have influenced and inspired me. Although I am supposed to be guiding them they oftentimes are the ones showing me how to truly live a life of faith.
  8. Via. I am also incredibly blessed to have a faith community of peers through Via. It’s both refreshing and motivating knowing that there are other people my age striving to grow their relationships with the Lord.
  9. Retreats. Some of my favorite weekends each year are retreats. They are such special opportunities for me to get away from the stress of daily life and simply be with God.
  10. El Salvador. The country of El Salvador and the people there have become an immensely important part of my life. They have taught me more about true selflessness and generosity than anyone I have ever met.
  11. Podcasting. Never in my life would I have thought I would start a podcast, yet here we are! Podcasting alongside two of my best friends has been one of those unforeseen happenings that you treasure.
  12. Breakfast food. No comment necessary.
  13. Sports. I just really miss sports. Highlights of the last year include the Blues winning the Cup, STL being awarded a soccer team, and the short lived but exciting run of the Battlehawks!
  14. London. Once upon a time I was asked if I was interested in going on a work trip to London and I said no. I’m so glad I came to my senses and took advantage of the opportunity to spend nearly a week in London, meeting people from all over the world in the process.
  15. Weddings. I got to witness a handful of weddings over the last year. There’s nothing like seeing some of the most important people in your life experience true happiness and fulfillment as they are joined together with the love of their life.
  16. Concerts. I love music (who doesn’t) and I’m happy I finally got to mark a few of my favorite bands of my personal bucket list.
  17. Star Wars. The nerd in me was very excited this year as not only did we receive another Star Wars but also The Mandalorian. Happy, I am.
  18. Nature. Hiking is one of my favorite outlets for when I’m feeling stressed. What beautiful sites will I be taking in this year?
  19. Change. We learn the most about ourselves when we’re faced with new beginnings, unforeseen circumstances, and change. Needless to say, I learned a LOT this year.
  20. Video Editor. I got randomly into making videos and Video Editor became my favorite program. I had fun and that’s all that matters!
  21. Books. I’ve done a lot more reading than usual over the last year as I continue to broaden my perspective and knowledge of the world around me.
  22. Technology. We’ve all been a bit more dependent on technology over the last few months, haven’t we? It would have been much more difficult to stay connected with our loved ones without all the technology we have at our disposal.
  23. Meeting new people. Every year we cross paths with people that start out as total strangers who end up becoming major pieces in our life. This past year was no different for me.
  24. Comedy. Whether it’s watching a stand up comedian, a movie, or The Office for the thousandth time, comedy is my go-to when I need a pick-me-up.
  25. My health. Although I have a few more aches and pains than I used to I’m thankful I’m in decent shape and healthy overall.
  26. All of you reading. I am so grateful that there are people willing to click on my posts and actually read what I write. I love having this platform where I can share my thoughts and experiences and it wouldn’t be the same without those of you reading.

 

The list above and the countless other little things that didn’t make it are the things that make me who I am. There are plenty of struggles in life, and as we get older those struggles feel like they morph and multiply. But let’s not forget about the blessings that pile up as well and the people that are there through it with us. Instead of letting the negativity dictate my life I’m choosing to look forward to the many adventures ahead as I continue to learn and grow.

Here’s to 27.

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