Bonjour mes chéries! Yours truly just completed another circle around the sun and turned twenty-seven last weekend. This was a birthday I’ve been dreading for quite some time for many reasons. To start, it marks the beginning of your late twenties. These are the last few years where you’re supposed to milk the most out of your twenties, make all the mistakes you need to make, learn all the lessons you need to learn, and get you shit together for your thirties. Then for those of you who are in the know, the time between 27 to 30 is often known as your Saturn return years. That means the planet Saturn reaches the exact point it was in when you were born and is believed to propel you into a new stage of life. It often brings a lot of change that rids you of things or people you’ve “graduated” from and opens the door for new people and opportunities to come in. It’s rough as f*ck but helps you in the long run.
The first seven days of being a twenty-seven was a rollercoaster that would put Six Flags Great Adventure to shame. I started it off with a huge birthday party, one to make up for my 25th and 26th in the pandemic. I rented out a cute new speakeasy and had 80ish friends from all corners of my life gather. I haven’t had that much fun in a while, and every birthday prior to COVID ended in disaster. I was determined to make this one a good one. It was also insanely cool to see all these people in one room together.
Unfortunately, a series of tumultuous turns came right after. I spent the remainder of my birthday weekend crying hysterically, heartbroken by people I genuinely loved. I have kept friendships up for the majority of my life, so it was very new (and not easy) for me to walk away from friends, especially ones I once considered family. As the week started, I grew frustrated with certain aspects of my career and had to face the reality of forfeiting living alone due to absurd inflation in prices and rent. Having my own sanctuary in this crazy city is what keeps my mental well-being balanced. The possibility of losing the luxury of living alone brought back my anxiety. As if that wasn’t enough, I had to relive three distinctly traumatic memories and situations. It culminated in me feeling like I was running on those moving walkways at airports, sprinting as fast as I can but stuck in the same damn place if not slowly moving backwards at times. Talk about kickstarting your Saturn return with a bang.
As I sat on my floor thinking about everything I went through in my first week, I couldn’t help but notice how calm I was on the outside for someone who was about to set the city on fire. In the past, I would have had a full blown meltdown. Instead, I took the afternoon off of work and went for a very long mental health walk where I combed through all my emotions and decided how to deal with them. Seeing this growth was a nice reminder that just because I feel stuck doesn’t mean I haven’t made progress. It brought me to think about this topic: age versus experience.
In society, we tend to focus on the two ends of a spectrum: young vs old, tall vs short, blonde vs brunette. Society has also tied biases to a lot of these words. If you’re young, you are often deemed immature and inexperienced. If you’re old, you’re experienced and wise. If you’re tall, you’re revered. If you’re short, you’re often teased. If you’re blonde, you’re a bimbo or a sex object. If you’re brunette, you’re the less fun one. It’s literally one of the stupidest things ever given the fact everything is on a spectrum, and no one should ever generalize.
We often hear this thing about people acting or not acting their age. Now if we all live very different lives, where do you anchor the expected behavior of each age? After all, you can never assume anything about a person you meet. People come with wildly unexpected backgrounds and stories all the time. But if you take a step back and look at the greater picture, there are some safe-ish assumptions and generalizations across the board that you can make.
If you meet a 25 year old girl one day in a trendy NYC bar with her friends and learn that she grew up in the Connecticut suburbs, moved to the city right after college for her corporate job, and lives with her best friend in a two bedroom apartment in Gramercy, there is a high probability that she’s had typical experiences of people in that demographic in America. You can probably assume what her current socioeconomic status is and that she probably has had standard experiences: prom, a first relationship or some dating experience, major growth moments in her early twenties, etc. That is because the majority of people of this demographic have similar experiences in their first 25 years of life making this the average expected status.
But let’s go back to the common assumption that young is immature and stupid and old means mature and smart. I often hear people judging others by saying “Oh that girl is 23 and acts exactly like a 23 year old” with disdain. If we are generally expected to be at a certain level when we are young, why is it a bad thing when someone does end up acting their age? Also, why is being young and immature bad? We expect certain behaviors out of ages but then reprimand them for not acting more mature than their age. We also expect women to be more grown-up than men. So if finding ways to grow and mature faster than your peers is a “good” thing to the general public, then the real conversation topic is mental age, not physical age.
With that being said, experience will always trump age but age does matter. You can be 15 and unhealthy or 60 and the most fit you’ve been. You can be 25 and have many life-altering experiences that make you mentally much more mature than a 40 year old who has had a very limited scope of life experiences. However, I cannot deny that biologically humans are still growing at the same pace. Just because someone is young but mature doesn’t mean they won’t have moments where their cognitive functions instinctually reflect their physical age. So while experience does matter more, age cannot be ignored in any context.
I have experienced a little more than the average person at my age but also a lot less than many peers. My physical age is mainly noticeable with how I handle my inexperience. In today’s world, we celebrate exploration and knowledge. We push people to go past boundaries and experience things that impact us deeply because let’s be honest: we are all trying to feel something. So even though I’m currently angry and frustrated with all the bullshit that has come around the sun with me, I’m reminding myself that these experiences as well as future uncomfortable ones are what will continue to mature me over time and help me better myself daily.
Twenty seven looks far from heaven, but I have no doubts that it will be my most monumental year so far. Buckle up mes chéries because you’re coming along for the ride. Until next time, bisou bisou…