Today is the day. I am 27. I still remember jamming out to Taylor Swift’s “22” over and over again the night before my 23rd birthday LITERALLY like it was yesterday….WHERE did those years go?
So, I guess I can’t ignore the fact that I’m *really* an adult now. Especially since, you know, I’m married and have a job. I’m pretty sure that’s #adulting, although since I spend my time at work around teenagers, I still feel pretty young (and maybe even a little bit immature 😂)
But anyway, at 27 I’m closer to 30 than to 20, and that really makes a person think. I was curious what other bloggers have written about the age of 27, and a cursory google search yielded a few interesting results, which I’ll link to at the end. The one that stood out to me though, was a list of 27 things that you should do before you turn 27. I thought I’d share here how I measured up.
1. Travel solo
Well, I went on an amazing friends vacation to Florida a few years ago, and as we speak (i.e as you read) I am on my way for what promises to be an amazing friends trip to Puerto Rico. I’ve done quite a bit of traveling with my husband the past year and a half. But have I ever traveled alone? No. (Unless you count the 5 hour road trips I made when my husband was my boyfriend/fiance and we were long distance. But since the purpose of those trips was to see him rather than to see a new place, I don’t count it).
I don’t know why I’ve never done it. I always kind of wanted to, and I had plenty of time during the summer months when I was teaching and living alone. I think I was a bit of a penny pincher when it came to big ticket things such as trips when I was living off only my own income, but honestly I didn’t really have to be. And I think there were aspects of traveling alone that I was nervous about. If I could turn back time, I’d definitely do more traveling during the summer while single.
Maybe one of these days I can still take a solo trip, despite being married now. Being the introvert that I am, I’d totally be down for a weekend away to just read and write and decompress.
2. Exercise regularly enough in order to “feel the need”
I started regularly exercising back in high school; I was not involved in sports, so if I wanted to be active, whether for health or weight loss, I had to consciously decide to get exercise.
That continued for most of high school. Exercise in college was spotty. At times I did, and I times it was hard enough to keep up with schoolwork, social life, and sleep. Then, once I was working, because teaching takes up so much time, I pretty much only worked out during the summer.
This past school year, I was able to make time during the second semester to work out regularly, up until the very end when things get REALLY busy. That’s definitely progress, and I definitely “feel the need,” as well as the desire, to work out when I’m going through the busy spells where I don’t get as much as I should.
3. Learn how to cook healthy and delicious meals
Hmmm. I don’t cook enough to have any particular meals that I’m a pro at. (Have I mentioned before how busy teachers are during the school year?) Some meals I fix are healthy; some are not. Some are delicious; some are not.
This area could use some work .
4. Learn to enjoy being alone
I am an introvert. I’ve got this on lock. I’ve had this on lock since I was a child. I had to learn how to enjoy being around people! 😂😂😂 Just kidding…kind of. I really enjoy the fellowship of others, whether it be large or small groups of people. But enjoying time alone–not a problem for me.
5. Camp under the stars
Well, I’ve camped in a tent outside. The only time I’ve done that is with my husband at church retreats/conferences, so I’m gonna call this one good. Although, knowing my husband, we’ll probably do this more, and maybe even in more wilderness than church camp!
6. Accept your body shape
Let’s be honest here guys: In high school I looked GREAT and I didn’t even know it. I was way too concerned with the number on the scale and if I had any flab showing over the top of my pants back then.
And let’s be honest: you body shape CHANGES. You can accept your high school body, but it won’t be your mid-twenties body. It doesn’t matter if you have babies or not, it doesn’t matter if you gain weight or not, your mid-twenties body is GOING to be different.
I actually grew to be very accepting of my body towards the end of college and during the first few years of my career. It’s a blessed thing to feel confident regardless of what the world is telling you your body should be.
Admittedly, I’ve gained weight since being married that I’m not exactly cool with. And I think it’s okay to be less than satisfied with yourself, as long as it causes you to work toward change in a healthy manner, rather than fuel self-loathing or poor self esteem. There’s a fine line between the knowledge that you are more than just your body, and the knowledge that this is the only body you get, so you need to take care of it!
7. Look after your skin
Just this past year I was horrified to notice that I have the beginnings of wrinkles!! You know those “fine lines” they talk about in facial product commercials? Yeah, I have those around my mouth now. At least they are smile lines and not frown lines or scowl lines! (Although, I did at one point notice two between my eyebrows that HAD to have gotten there from giving THE LOOK so many times to my students…and my husband. 😂)
So, only within this last year I’ve started trying (“trying” is the operative word here) to use a daily moisturizer with SPF and a night cream. Do I actually remember to do this everyday. Not a chance. But I’m trying!
8. Live on your own
Heck to the yes on this one. I didn’t live at home during college, and when I graduated I already had a job lined up, which was too far away to commute to from my parents house. I lived on my own (without a roommate) for 3 and half years before I got married. There were a few times it got lonely and I wished I had a roommate to share the time with, but I have NEVER regretted living on my own.
9. Travel to another continent
I haven’t done this yet. It’s definitely a goal and a desire. It has been for as long as I can remember, honestly. My husband and I are hoping/planning on doing a Europe trip….at some point.
More on travel later.
10. Buy local produce
I don’t do this. I think it’s a great thing to do when you can, and I’m really glad that my town actually does have a farmer’s market (at least during certain times of year).
Y’all, I would like to be “crunchy,” but I’m just not.
11. Learn to like black coffee
Oh honey. I learned to like black coffee before I learned to like those Starbucks concoctions.
12. Drink responsibly
If you’re gonna drink, you should drink responsibly period. No questions asked. This is not something to get over by the time you’re 27, this is something you should be doing from the time a sip of alcohol ever touches your lips.
13. Cut the fake & fads
This is an interesting one to me. The author of the original piece was speaking only about health and fitness fads here, but that wasn’t obvious until you read her explanation. What about “fake and fads” in general?
My immediate thought when I read “fake” was fake people–the way supposedly some people act fake around certain or all people in order to come across a certain way and be liked by others. I honestly have never really encountered this, at least to my knowledge. But I would say that be 27, people should be secure enough in themselves to 1.) not be acting fake just to make others happy, and 2.) not put up with others being fake. Cut the fake out of your life.
As for fads, my first thought went to trends. And there are a lot of different kinds of trends…fashion trends, trends on social media, etc. I will admit, I like to keep up with trends. Most of that stems from being a teacher; not only does it help me stay relevant with the kiddos (haha😂😂😂), in public school it’s almost necessary to make sure that INAPPROPRIATE trends are not openly discussed because of my ignorance.
But should we let go of trends and fads by the time we’re 27?
While I don’t think there’s anything wrong embracing certain trends if it’s appropriate and you like it, there are things out there that are childish and immature. At 27, it is time to be an adult (sigh), and some of those things just don’t go hand in hand.
14. Be on time
Whoops. This doesn’t always happen like it should….
15. Floss regularly
Sorry my dear dental hygienist friends. I don’t do this. 🙈
16. Appreciate your family
While my mom and I didn’t always have the smoothest sailing through the teen years, I think that for the most part I have always appreciated my family. I never went through a stage where I was annoyed with visiting grandparents, didn’t enjoy family reunions, or anything like that, at least that I can remember. I know I grew impatient with certain things when I was a child, but for the most part I remember enjoying time with family. I still do.
17. Learn how to say “No”
Y’all, this is important. There are only so many hours in the day. You can’t do it all, and I hate it. There are some many things I want to do, interests I have, people I want to spend time with, etc. And there just isn’t enough time to do it all. You have to say “no” sometimes. I’ve gotten better about that as I’ve gotten older, but I’m still not the best at it. I tend to want to do it all.
18. Learn how to forgive yourself and leave the resentment behind
Here’s what the original author of this list, Alli Blair, wrote about this topic:
Forgiving yourself is essential in order to move on and continue growing into a better version of you. I am someone who used to beat myself up often and let regrets haunt me. I honestly think that by taking responsibility for your own actions is one of the most important things you can do in order to really forgive yourself and move on.
Can’t say that I disagree.
19. Care for a pet
Yay! We’re doing this now!!
20. Be more patient
They say that being a parent will teach you patience. I say that being a teacher will teach it to you too. I won’t go so far as to say I’ve got this covered, but…I’ve come pretty far in the five years I’ve spent in the classroom.
21. Learn how to properly read nutrition labels
I would agree that this is important, and it may become even more important to me as time goes by. I have a family history of some auto-immune issues and gastrointestinal issues, and in the past couple of years, symptoms of both of these things have started to rear their heads. If these things continue to flair up, I’m going to have to become more knowledge about what bothers me and what to avoid. I don’t have all of that knowledge now, but once I do, I may have to keep an eye on ingredients and chemicals found in my food. We’ll see what happens there.
22. Obtain enough sleep on a regular basis
23. Do an adrenaline sport/activity
I’m assuming roller coasters count for this? I’ve done plenty of those.
24. Watch every episode of Friends and Seinfeld
Well…this is obviously someone’s opinion. This is a personal decision to everybody. I understand that TV shows can impact you (as can BOOKS and movies), and the original author’s point was that these are the longest-running sitcoms ever. They are definitely iconic. But are they essential? Nah.
Now, To Kill A Mockingbird? THAT’S essential! EVERYBODY should have read that book and seen that movie at least, like, 5 times by the time they’re 27. Probably more than that. Just saying.
25. Do not settle for less than you deserve
What exactly do we deserve?
People feel like they should be happy. They want jobs they enjoy, friends they can trust, and significant others who treat them right. And that is NOT wrong. There are situations where we DO deserve better. We shouldn’t be putting up with unethical treatment from others.
However, what do we actually deserve?
If you are a Christian, you know that what we really deserve is nothing but God’s wrath. We are sinful creatures and can do nothing good. It is only by God’s grace that we have anything, and only by his grace that we can be saved.
It’s not that I completely disagree with the spin the author puts on this topic–I agree that many people “settle” because of fear of change and failure–it’s hard, but change can be good! The author also points out that many people settle for mediocrity in their lives on a daily basis. Should mediocrity be avoided? Sure. But I think the goal here should actually be “Do no settle for less than OTHERS deserve.” Doesn’t your waiter deserve to be treated with respect? Doesn’t your boss deserve your best work? Doesn’t your family deserve your time and attention? Doesn’t your spouse/roommate deserve for you to hold up your end of the household duties? Work on making YOURSELF better, not just making the situation you find yourself in better.
26. Travel, travel, travel
I feel like this is a millennial construct; ask our parents or anyone of an older generation if traveling was something that should be done while young and is necessary to really live life to the fullest, and I feel like most of them would give you a resounding no. I feel like most of the generations that came before us felt that you should work hard and start a family first, save, and hopefully have enough money saved back that you could do traveling with your family or when you retired. And some didn’t really value travel (particularly travel overseas) much at all.
My generation is all about the experience. We’re the ones who are traveling abroad during college, taking breaks from work in order to travel, and putting worldwide travel on our lists of things you HAVE to do to really make the most of life and understand the world.
Are either of these perspectives wrong? I would say no. There is wisdom is being frugal and responsible with money, and travel can be (but is not always expensive). There is also wisdom that comes from seeing the world, experiencing things different from your normal, meeting new people, learning different cultures.
My husband in most ways in not millennial-like, but he DOES like to travel; I think I’ve traveled more since I’ve been with him than I have at any other time in my life. Here’s hoping for new and varied travels, and a lifetime of adventure near and far!
27. Realize that you have enough, you do enough, and that you are enough
This one is all about the social standards placed on us. Are you making enough money? Do you have a socially acceptable job? Are you married when you should be? Do you have kids at the right age? Are you doing enough “cool stuff,” you know, the stuff that is social media worthy? Heck, even this list could be used to make you feel like you “aren’t enough” or haven’t accomplished what you should, based on your age.
While we should always strive for growth, contentment is a must. Things do no fall in place at the same time for everyone. We all have different goals we’re striving for, and different paths to take. Don’t let social standards make you feel like less. As long as you are right with God, you are on the right track
The thing to remember about lists such as this one (as well as lists that tell you what you should quit doing by a certain age, or lists of things you should be doing at a certain age) are that they are written by a single, fallible person with their own specific goals and worldviews. Each of us has an individual personality, specific goals for our lives, and two different trajectories in place before us: the one we’ve determined for ourselves, and the actual one we’ll follow, the one that God has planned out.
While there are goals and skills that should be worked towards by all responsible adults, not everything you’ll find on lists like this fall under that category. Some of the things on this particular list are, and some are not.
What do YOU think should be done by the time you turn 27?