Tomorrow I will be 28.
28 feels like the year that the whole ball game changes. The year I become a mom, the year Greg and settle into a home, the year that we finally really truly become adults. It feels like a year to learn to love my own company, a year to slow down and read more books, a year of less to-do lists. 28 will certainly have some growing pains as I adjust to a new life, to new priorities, to new skin. But even the growing pains seem to carry with them the promise of love and satisfaction and incredible joy.
I'm excited and ready for 28. One of the sweet surprises of life is that I have found every year to be better than the last. I loved being 19, but 20 was better. 23 was so much fun, but 24 showed me love I've never seen before. I thought 26 was the best year of my life until I knew 27. So here I am, on my birthday eve, more than ready for 28 to knock at my door.
That being said, I don't want to shoo 27 out without a proper send off. Any good year needs a good good-bye. 27 was great to me, treated me just right, spoiled me even. 27 felt like a gift. Like God was saying to me "this year is so that you know how much I love you."
Somehow I knew going in that the year would be unusually good to me. I could feel it. In my birthday post a year ago I wrote this about turning 27: "The age feels good on me. Like it fits. You know when you try on a terrific new pair of jeans, and they fit just perfectly over your hips and butt and they button up so comfortably and look just totally stunning on every part of you? 27 feels like a time to buckle down and grow up- a time to think about retirement plans and buying a house and babies. And it fits."
That's not to say the year has not been without its difficulties. I struggled immensely to adapt to working at a new school. Spiritually I felt more confused and conflicted than ever before as I watched my religion make headlines over issues such as gay marriage and women's rights. My best friend moved to California, the last of my college roomies to say goodbye and make another state her home. This blog itself experienced some growing pains as I tried to write authentically and honestly about my life while still respecting the privacy and desires of the people I interact with daily. I suffered this spring when I was told that the AP Lit class that I poured blood and sweat into wouldn't be offered next year.
But even those difficulties seemed to give 27 its sweetness. I think I liked 27 so much because 27 was the year that I finally stopped being afraid. Actually that's not true. I'm always afraid. But I stopped allowing my fear to make the decisions for me. I took risks I've always wanted to, but been too afraid to take in the past. I learned what it felt like outside of my comfort zone. 27 was my yes year.
Exactly one year ago I put aside my fear when Greg begged to try to start a family. Going off birth control was a decision that has always absolutely terrified me. But when we found out we were pregnant in November, there was no more fear, only absolute joy.
I was scared when I said yes to a new teaching position- I left behind the school that was comfortable and easy, and switched to a new school with a different way of doing things. I took on an AP class that I was scared out of my mind to teach (and certain that I was under qualified for). I took it a day at a time and somehow figured it out (ish) and in May when I said goodbye to those eight kiddos, I held back tears.
I put aside my fear long enough to take on a student teacher, an experience that helped me grow and reflect on my teaching in a way nothing else ever has. I felt a kinship with the other teachers in my department. I finished the year feeling happy and 100% confident in my decision to switch schools. What's more, Greg was hired as the full time theater teacher at my school starting in the fall, allowing me to go part time for next year.
I was scared when Greg and I made an offer on a new home a month ago. We will now owe a bank a terrifying truckload of money, but we did it! We made an offer on a home! We stopped renting! We stopped throwing money down the toilet each month and tried to make some smart investment decisions. Yes I'm still scared! But we did it!
I was terrified when we got a dog in October. I've never wanted a dog, but I said yes anyway, and somehow I've fallen completely head over heels in love with my teddy bear poodle. In February I started writing a book, a silly little project I've wanted to do for years, but always felt too stupid or too inept or too hopelessly naive to really tackle. But I started it and am writing it now, and no matter what happens with it in the future, I will always be grateful that I at least attempted it.
I suppose that has been the theme for 27 . A goodbye to fear and a hello and welcome to new opportunities, experiences, people, and blessings. A year of yes and a year of less fear and a year full of incredible joy, love and satisfaction.
Thank you, 27.
You are now dismissed.