Golden Year

This year is special. Or at least I’ve built it up to be pretty special by default. The golden year is when you turn the number of years as in the day of your birth, like turning 15 on the 15th,  or in my case, 27 on the 27th.  I’m currently writing this article about half way through this glorified golden year, so my reflections are based on just that, 6 months of a time that I am trying, unsuccessfully, to make sense of.

To match a color to a year implies that you can cram 365 days of experience into one color. Limiting right off the bat, my 27th year on this planet has left me feeling not as radiant as I expected. If you ask me, this whole “27“ situation is harder than it looks. We stand here, in between the young and restless early twenty-somethings, where responsibilities have begun to inch their way past the post-college honeymoon phase, and the term “is this real life?” has a whole new meaning outside of its YouTube origins.

At 23, it was pretty easy to fill up on an inevitable sense of success. There was a lot of sparkle talk. If you could make 23 a cocktail, it would mix carefree with twice as much unfiltered self-destruction, a floater of thinking about figuring it out, and topping it off with a neon plastic straw from Ikea. Oh, and don't forget the red plastic Solo cup. I don’t even need to say what happens when you pour over ice because it isn’t pretty.

27 is much harder to pour. It consists of 3oz. of fresh stress, with big fun followed by nagging regret, 2 drops of increasingly more bitter, finished with a wrinkle twist, and served in a mason jar. It’s 27, an age with a cult following reputation due to the slew of Rock & Rollers dead in this year of their lives. Personally, rather than a life that was so quick to climax, I can say that I am enjoying the more sustainable aspects of this golden year.

Running into a friend who I have gone without seeing or speaking to in over 6 years brought something to my attention, and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since. The biggest difference for him between life now and back in 2007/2008 when Blackberries roamed the Earth, is quite simple. He, someone is who is no stranger of the good time, enjoys perhaps for the first time ever, doing things that are not just border line harmless, but are actually good for him. How quickly does one go from self-destruction to self-preservation? What is it that has turned late nights, later mornings, and spontaneity into sending Evites, 8am yoga classes on a Saturday, and the stay-cation?

27 is when you have urges to do really crazy things but end up realizing that it's not worth the hangover and instead settle for a whisky ginger ale, which you consume in the downstairs bedroom of your parent’s house, where you dance a little in front of the mirror but are soon too tired to do that, and then lay in bed and get through reading two paragraphs of a book before you find yourself going through all the boys names your phone has to offer. Because it’s lonely, far lonelier than 23 ever seemed, that is for sure, and Tinder certainly isn’t helping anyone’s cause at this age.

Who knows, maybe it’s because wedding season is upon us, or because I watch friend’s kids growing up and changing so fast and I can’t help getting sentimental. Or it’s driving down the street, with KCRW’s All Things Considered blasting through my speakers, and fighting the urge to reprimand some tween, seemingly so innocent, with her butt cheeks hanging out the back of her Urban Outfitters shorts. Whatever the case, I must say that don’t know why I wrote this haphazard post about being an age that most have been or will experience at some point. Because let’s be honest, it is no milestone like 104, and I’m not trying to glorify it like it is.

I recently quit my job, and by recently I mean today. And a gorgeous thing happened in the midst of explaining myself to my boss. After I got over the initial terror of the moment, I began to really hear what she was saying rather than the abrasive iced tongue conversation I was imagining in my head. She talked about how this is a time to build. This is a time to build and to fall, but to start laying the groundwork, as the biggest decisions are typically just around the corner. Maybe all those weekend nights when some chance to get wild and crazy called, and my bathrobe and a mug of tea answered, is really just a subconscious way to start laying down the bricks and build that white picket fence. I must digress, because I almost just projectile vomited at the thought of building a white picket fence.

Apart from the above, it’s also a time of wonderful reward and pleasure, because we know more about what we want and how we want it. While we build and make space, we are putting in serious work into figuring ourselves out. So, after all of this babble, let us come together in a sacred space guided by David Bowie, because really, as much as this year has been hard and full of pouting, there has been a whole lot of golden in it too (Skip to minute 2:10 if you are a busy twenty-something year old). Take it away, Heath.

Guest Author Kim Brounstein is a lover of food and music, a former UCLA Bruin, and a Los Angeles native. She has come back to the United States after spending two glorious years teaching English (and a bit of yoga) in Spain.

Two champagne glasses image courtesy of Shutterstock

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