I really felt turning 28 this year. I’m usually nostalgic when it comes to aging, it’s the existentialist in me, but something about 28 has always felt significant.
Twenty-seven was a solid year. In many ways it was a huge turning point for a lot of us. The early 20’s can be muddled with confusion and insecurity, while the late 20’s are setting you up for your graduation from this decade. I have been studying pretty hard for my graduation, let me tell you. My 20’s have come with no shortage of life lessons in every department, family, love and relationships, career, life dreams, fears, bravery.
So to be honest, when my boyfriend surprised me with a penthouse room overlooking the Florida West Coast, I knew in my heart of hearts this was the commencement I’d always pictured for 28. Snuggled in my hotel robe on our balcony and looking at the ocean on this fine May morning is everything I'm prepared for 28 to be.
My morning coffee is perhaps the most serene time I experience every day. I’ve spoken about it before, it's my daily moment of peace and clarity. It used to be something I missed while traveling since the best morning coffee happens in my small cottage. It’s my own coffee (made in the same little pot my parents gifted me in college). It’s home to me. But over the years, I’ve learned to appreciate and recreate this same feeling despite not having my familiar surroundings or materials. I’ve learned to adapt. I am my own home. The morning sun taking its time to slowly fill the sky, the dewiness of everything, the chill on the windows, these are the things that make waking up what it is. I’ve never realized how comfortable I feel in my own skin until this morning coffee. It’s been a natural progression leading up until now.
The coffee in my hand is hotel coffee, despite being in the penthouse it is not roasted any differently. I don’t have coconut milk, which I’d normally include, but I do have my thoughts. I am contemplating turning 28 and what that means while staring at the expansive ocean at 7 AM. It’s much too early for most people and the thick, brown sand is still empty. The lumps slightly smoother than usual. They’ll soon be taken over by the crowd. The day will continue like every day once the morning has passed. Except this day, I am 28. A long, complicated decade is that much closer to ending, and I begin to think about its significance.
Five years ago this morning coffee looked different. My thoughts, my perception, even the group of friends I hung around. If I close my eyes and begin to transport myself, I am a different person. A part of me feels a little thrill to think about her. If I remember a familiar scent from the time, my mind latches to it trying to determine when it’s from. I feel a little rush, like the one that comes over you when you see someone from your past. Nostalgia gets the best of us. But when I open my eyes, I am relieved to be here. Apart from the stunning room and the decadent room service I am about to be treated to, it’s me.
I’m so happy to be 28. I’m so genuinely proud of who I am. That’s not how I usually feel on birthdays. I’ve always been hard on myself, constantly expecting more. That annoying quality is still something I’m working on, but by and large, I am fully content. I love the decisions I’ve made, and even more so that I made them myself. Trust has been a theme throughout my life. In my early 20’s, I trusted no one fully. I believed that you can only depend on yourself and your mother; Those are the people who have your selfless intentions in mind. But over the years, I’ve learned to dispel that. I have my related and chosen family. Relationships are part of what is better right now, the most significant of which is with myself.
We’ve had a lot of morning coffees, my consciousness and I. We go way back. This is one of my favorite cups and now it's empty. I'll wake up Jaime soon and start the day. This miniature getaway he's gifted me has been so therapeutic. An entire itinerary planned just for me, for who I am right now. I bask in how far I’ve come to realize this and be with someone who understands me on that level. It’s chosen family; It’s what love should feel like between two souls.
Cheers to you 28,