27

Inspired by tweeting with @katrinaravioli, whose 27 is strikingly different from my 27.

I spent the first six months of the year I was 27 extricating myself from a relationship. It was a long, messy process even though it was the right thing to do.

We both knew the relationship wasn’t working. We didn’t know (at the time) why it wasn’t working. We were sad, and we were scared about being single. Well, I was. I don’t really know if he was scared. I don’t think he wanted to break up necessarily — since I did the actual breaking up part — but I also think our relationship was coasting on inertia.

We argued sometimes, but mostly we were just sad. Sad and dissatisfied.

So I moved out. That was the first step.

I moved in with my brother and his soon-to-be-wife. We broke up the night of their wedding.

That was the second step.

The third step was staying away from him. I didn’t want a friendship with him. I felt sad around him; I felt angry and resentful; I wondered what was wrong with me. That’s no basis for any kind of friendship. Family and friends collected the rest of my belongings from his apartment.

The next steps were: moving in with friends of mine, a couple who owned a house on the South Side. I bought a bed. After a couple of months, I sought therapy. It was helpful.

I had a good group of friends. I had a job, and, more importantly to me, I was a freelance writer. The job paid the bills. The freelance writing fed the ego. I also had some success as a poet. In short, I had a life, a life I had always had aside from my relationship. It was a good life. I liked it.

I spent the next six months of 27 (and some time beyond) single. I liked single. I dated; I didn’t like dating. I realized that just because a guy calls you doesn’t mean you have to call him back. I realized a couple of dates didn’t obligate me to keep seeing someone I didn’t enjoy dating. I realized that being alone and being lonely are two distinct things. I was lonely, sometimes, but I really liked to be alone.

Twenty-seven was the year I probably grew up the most. I definitely learned more about myself in that year than I ever had. I renewed my relationship with my faith. I realized I very much had a life I liked (aside from the nightmares about being consumed — hence, therapy.) Through breaking up and through dating, I was figuring out what I wanted in a partner. Through living my life and therapy, I was learning that nothing was wrong with me. I was actually a pretty neat person. I was stunningly human, which is why I had ALL THE FEELINGS.

I was learning it was okay to want to be loved. I was learning that I deserved to be loved. That surprised the shit out of me. I came to accept it.

I was about 18 months away from letting a man I knew from Duquesne University buy me a Maker’s Mark (on the rocks) in the Lava Lounge, and three years from marrying the same man. In some ways at 27, I was far away from the woman who would be loved as I am by this man, and by our children. But I was getting there.

Twenty-seven was messy, sometimes fun and sometimes devastating and sometimes lonely. Twenty-seven was powerful, and I’m glad I lived it the way I did.

What was 27 for you?

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9 thoughts on “27

      • oh, oops. Hm, 27. I had been married for 4 yrs. Had left all my family, friends, and heartsick mother to move back to the ‘Burgh on a hope and a prayer. Bought our house. Rem thinking what in the world would we do with all these bedrooms? Ha!

  1. 27 started similarly to yours: major breakup (and ending an engagement). But it was also an incredible year of independence: I purchased my own house, I bought my own car, I paid my own bills. That year I grew a lot (and dated a lot and probably drank a lot), but as much as I hated it, I needed it.

  2. Hello! 27 was my first year in Seattle. It was a rough time filled with courage, loneliness, abundant growth, too many nebulous relationships, experiments and a lot of learning to fly on my own across the country from my family and friends that I held/hold most dear. And quite a few phone calls to my friend/your hubby to bolster my confidence and remind me again why I plunked up and moved :-). It was the year I proved to myself that I could make it anywhere on my own. And the year I fell in love with the city I’ve called home for almost 2 decades now.

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