I turned 27 today. So I decided to revisit the birthday reflection I wrote last year to see how much I’ve changed in the past 12 months.

According to the post, 2019 was NOT easy. I was frustrated at work, and struggling with sciatica.  I was questioning every decision I made or didn’t make. I was failing to give my platonic and romantic relationships they deserved. I was angry and sad and scared and overwhelmed, all at once.  Like a true multitasker.

But underneath all of that, there was a glimmer of hope. A sentiment I hoped would carry me to 27:

“At 26, I know I’m better, or at least more whole than I used to be. Because I know myself more than I ever have.”

A lot has changed since turning 26. I’ve worked through my sexual anxiety. I’ve changed jobs. I’ve started journaling, which is cathartic, highly recommend. Oh, and the world is in the midst of a devastating pandemic.

My perspective on aging has no doubt been affected by what’s going on. Quarantine has forced me to reflect on what really matters. It’s pushed me to think about how I want to spend my time and who I’d like to spend it with. It’s required me to give up the things I once thought were essential but may have never needed. It’s challenged me to go 2-to-6 months without bleaching my hair.

At 27, I feel a kind of peace and stability I’ve never had. Maybe that’s because Covid19 has made me realize just how small and trivial my problems are. Or maybe, it’s because I’ve continued to grow and learned to like the person I’m becoming.

Yes, I still feel unsure about many things. I don’t know what my long-term plans are. I don’t know what I want out of a relationship. Or if the career path I’m following is the right one.

But i’m beginning to feel okay with not knowing. Because all of the expectations of who I am and who I should be have been self-imposed. No one really cares about what I’m doing and if I’m doing it right. No one is standing there and thinking, “Wow. This dude has no fucking idea of how to be 27.”

I don’t want as much as I did before. And that isn’t to say I’ve settled. But rather that I’ve learned to accept my life as it is and find happiness in who I am and where I’m at. I’ve begun to pay attention to all the things I already have instead of focusing on all the things I lack.

Last year’s birthday post was written during a dark period in my life. I’m happy to say I’m doing a lot better than I was before. Not because my life has materially changed, but because I’ve learned to look at it from a different perspective. But despite how dark it was, it ends with advice I always want to follow:

“Try to do your best today. Treat yourself with kindness. Be grateful you have another day to live—even if it’s with uncertainty. Don’t focus on what your life could be, focus on what it is now.”

I may have aged, but this advice hasn’t. So, here’s to 27!