A few months ago, I came across a hilarious early vs. late twenties post on Buzzfeed; hilarious, because it is so dead on. A few weeks ago, I officially entered my late-twenties. It was one of those surprisingly good birthdays. 27 is a rather unremarkable milestone. It is also the first year I honestly felt somehow much older. Given a September birthday, and my mother’s insistence on sending me to school early, I was always the youngest person in my social circle. I also had the natural tendency to gravitate towards friends who were older than me. For many years, no matter what age I was turning, I was always somehow still so young.
And then, I hit my late-twenties. Suddenly, my social circle consists of many who are (gasp!) my little sister’s age! It’s not a bad thing, but it certainly is an adjustment to how I mentally position myself around my friends. I suppose one can’t remain the youngest forever, and at some point, age stops to matter, and its diversity among social circles is bound to happen.
I enjoy birthdays. It’s not only the day that my Facebook wall/timeline/whatever blows up like whoa, but also the day I get updates from many of my close friends, and a time to reflect upon the previous year of my life. New Year & birthday – the biannual life progress report time.
26 was a remarkable year. It was just days before my 26th birthday that I had the insane idea of uprooting my life to Shanghai, without a job, and never having stepped foot on the country. A year later, I’ve grown immensely both professionally, personally, and even romantically (nothing like a honest heartbreak to ignite an existential crisis).
At a joint birthday party that I held with a good friend, I was able to physically see the community that I’ve built from scratch within one single year. Shanghai is an extremely transient city, especially so within the expat community. One is constantly making new friends and redefining social circles. The many coffee dates really do amount to something, and I was grateful for the friendships.
Professionally, I not only finally got that Big Girl job, but I still find time to continue doing the things I love – tutoring, writing, etc. There simply isn’t enough time in the day to do all that I want to do – take a French class at Alliance Française, take an online training with Acumen Fund, attend fascinating lectures around the city, etc. etc. How does one manage? Finding balance is the name of the game this year.
I couldn’t have imagined my life today one year ago, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. I am incredibly grateful for what life has offered me this past year, and I can’t wait to see what unfolds over the next 12 months. The late twenties isn’t so bad after all. I might have passed the prime of my partying days, but certainly not the prime of my life. In fact, the prime is always ahead, and that’s the only way.