Today I’m turning 27. It’s not a milestone birthday–certainly no 21, or 30. I won’t have a big party or gain any new rights, but does feel worth remarking on. I’m saying goodbye to my mid-twenties, a time that was fraught with striving and uncertainty. I won’t be sad to have a reminder that that time of my life is passed, and I don’t feel bad about being another year closer to 30.
While turning 27, I can’t help but think about the 27 Club. I’m certainly no musician, and I have no intention of dying this year, but those artists and their early deaths make me wonder if there’s something about this weird space in time that drives people a little out of control. 26 was a weird age to be, and I feel like 27 will feel much the same. I’ve technically been an adult for almost a decade, but now I am really feeling that adulthood. Student loans, bills, regular doctors visits, and career worries fill up hours that used to be spent daydreaming. I’m getting married, doing lots of laundry, and worrying about if I ever want to have children. If that’s not adulthood, I don’t know what is.
My thirties are looming before me, along with all the things I thought I would have done by then. Thinking of the people of the 27 Club, I can feel sad about their deaths, but also in awe of what they did before they died. Not only did they do their best work by 27, they did all their work then. When I first learned of the 27 Club as a teenager, it seemed tragic, of course, but also not that terribly young. At 17, 27 was a million years away. Now it’s here. I can’t say that it feels like no time has passed, because I’m not going to dismiss the last decade as meaningless. Those years were full of hard work and pain, but also laughter, joy, and adventure. 27 is not 17, but it is still terribly young.
If I could go back, I would not relive those years, or any of the ones that came before them. Don’t get me wrong, I have fond memories from those years. But I don’t long for them, and I don’t feel like they were the most valuable years of my life. I am excited to turn 27, and to move boldly into the future.
Turning 27, I know that my best years, and my best work, is still ahead of me. I have big plans for the next decade of my life. I will get married to my best friend. I will keep writing. I will keep trying to figure things out, like how the world works and how I want to fit into it. In the words of the great Jeff Mangum, I will float until I learn how to swim.