Life Events

Turning 28

/ turning 28 / via observant nomadTechnically I’m already 28. I really like the sound of it. 28. It sounds like it’s full of reasonable maturity as well as youthful positivity. It’s an age for dreamers and doers. At least, that’s what it feels like to me.

Naturally, now that I’m 28 and closer to 30 than ever before, I’ve been doing some big picture reflecting. Where have I been? Where would I like to go? Who do I want to become? Who do I want to be around? And when I look back on being 27, I see a bit of a hazy year. I have to be honest with myself. It was a year full of plans and intentions that never seemed to quite come to fruition. The same sensation of a journey stuck in place.

But there is one lesson from my 27th year that I want to pass on to you…

Only you can define who you are.

This means a couple different things to me.
You are the only one who can define the true person that you are.
And you are the only one who can define the life you’re going to live.

Not your friends, not your parents. Not your boss, not your co-workers. Not even your partner. No one can define who you are, but you. You have control over who you want to be, where you want to go, and what you want to accomplish.

There will always be nay-sayers. People who don’t see what you see, or feel what you feel. Sometimes you’ll have to work with the nay-sayers to get where you want to go. And that’s a normal challenge you will have to face in your life. Just remember to do so with grace. And that their viewpoint is only what they see in this small piece of time, not the entire journey you’ve been on or will go down.

This advice came from a heavy realization earlier this year. I’ve realized that during my 20s, I’ve been subconsciously looking to others tell me who I am. I’ve been putting too much stock in people who barely know me, or only know a single facet of me. Or leaning too heavily on the opinion of people without first considering their reality. I never did a good job of stopping to ask myself, “why are they saying this?” or “where is this experience shaped from?”

Because really I’m so much more.

I’m more than a daughter, co-worker, friend, or employee. And I’m sure you’re the same. We’re all more than just what we do for a living, or that one dumb thing we said that one time. It’s important to keep remembering that.

Keep this lesson close, because it took me a long time to realize it for myself. And once I really understood what it meant, I was able to let go of the negativity and nay-saying. Instead it allowed me to keep looking forward. It also helped me see that these thoughts, these opinions, these definitions of me (all from other people) are only in this moment right here, right now.

So here’s to turning 28, and continuing to look forward.

photo / madewell

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Thank you for the lovely reminder! I’ve recently celebrated my birthday and similar thoughts ran through my mind. It’s so easy to get swept away in our “roles”, rather than stand strong in our sense of “being”, but by being intentional in our daily lives we can redefine ourselves once again. I hope this year is full of beautiful moments for you – moments defined and chosen by you!


You said it better than I ever could. Thank you for your clarity and kind thoughts. Hoping your 2016 is full of bright beautiful moments too!

Happy beautiful(belated!) birthday to you!! What a profound and grounded post of reflection. xoxo