8 Things You Learn By Your Late 20's
I just turned 28 last month, and I never imagined that I'd be feeling inspired at such an odd, and random age, yet here we are. I mean, 25, okay, makes perfect sense. 30 also has its "bazinga" factor, you know? But 28? No one ever writes about turning 28. That's probably because we're right on the cusp where we start rounding our age down and trying to avoid the big 3-0.
This is a no-age-shaming zone. I'm 28, healthy, happily married, and living in a country that makes me feel good and whole. No matter where you find yourself at 28, it's worth mentioning and celebrating your wins, and even having a laugh at the losses!
30 Isn't Old
This isn't just me trying to convince myself of that fact either. It really isn't old. Hell, people are having children in their 40's, others are living well into their 80's and 90's and Viola Davis still looks 19! (Along with her other melanated vampire-esque bretheren Pharell, Angela Bassett, Cicely Tyson, and albeit less-melanted J.Lo) There's so much hype around turning 30 as if it's at this point that you have to have everything magcially figured out, and in order. That's simply not the case. No, your body does not start to slowly decompose in your 30th year, and life will continue on as usual.
It's Okay to Splurge
If you've made it to 28, alive and well, it's reasonable to assume you're a responsible, well-functioning, semi-adult. So when faced with the dilemma of paying 50 cents more for whole wheat bread instead of bleach-white, go for the whole wheat! When a hostel is only 15 euros less than renting an entire flat for yourself, go ahead and splash out! Splurging isn't selfish. I like to see it as tiny investments in my health, both mental and emotional. This is also how I justify spending 34€ at Lush for facial lotion. But, whatevs.
Be Nice to Your Body
By 28 you learn that being nice to your body goes so much deeper than what you consume and how you treat it literally, it also means being gentle with your body. Say nice things about your body. Be forgiving. Be open to change. Your body is ever-changing, so learn to adapt and flow with it, instead of fighting some up-hill battle of trying to look exactly like you did at your highschool prom. You'll save yourself lots of stress that way.
Being a Friend vs Being Friendly
I'm not sure if my standards have changed, or it's simply part of growing up, but I stopped granting the title of "friend" so magnanimously. I recently tried an experiment of sorts where I just stopped making the first move with my friends. I didn't invite them out, I didn't text first, nor did I call. I did this for a month to see who exactly would a) notice that I wasn't around and b) reach out to me. I've learned that all relationships must be reciprocal, and me chasing you is not a friendship, it's unhealthy and untoward. I was surprised, but not really, by the results. Then it clicked: these people are friendly, but being friendly doesn't mean that we're friends and that's okay. It makes you appreciate those who do actually invest in your friendship even more.
Petty is Petty is Petty
If you think that people in their late 20's, 30's or even 40's can't be petty, you're wrong. Those mental cycles and traps we get stuck in in high school sometimes follow us throughout our lives. Check others, yes, but also check yourself. Make sure that you're not acting out of revenge, insecurity or from a place of unadressed pain. It doesn't matter how far you think you've transcended above us mere mortals, petty is petty and no one is immune.
Just Because You Ignore It Doesn't Mean It Goes Away
I'm not sure what I was doing before exactly, but the best way to describe it is walking through a dark room, with my eyes closed and my hands extended in front of me in hopes of not falling (too hard) on my ass, or bumping into anything. Yup, that's it. I applied this masterful technique to things like filing taxes, playing hide'n'seek with Sallie Mae, pap smears, and family medical history. Y'all. It's hard out here when you're trying to be an adult, but still be great! I had to confront some hard truths and realize that future Danni needs Present Danni to handle business ASAP (Rocky). So, that's what I'm doing. My eyes are still closed, and my steps are still unsteady, but I at least turned the lights on, and am moving in the right direction.
Experiences > Things
This probably has less to do with my age, and more to do with moving house, Spring cleaning, or anything else that reminds me how much freaking stuff I've accquired over the years! My God! How many pairs of black leggings does one need? 6. The answer is six, in case you're wondering. See? That's my problem. Since moving to Europe, I've become accustomed to ridiculously cheap flights. This helps me as a checks and balances of sorts. When I reach to buy those 45€ shoes, I simply remind myself that I could easily buy a roundtrip ticket to Brussels for that amount of money. That, and I don't actually need any more damn shoes. Slow breathing. This one is a work in process.
Show Up For Your Damn Self
If you're still waiting on a man or woman or even a job to "complete you" you're doing it wrong. There's no magical fix. I've leaned that I need to be present for myself, be my own advocate, my own cheerleader, defender, and comfort first. Anyone or anything that comes after simlpy complements the base that I've already established. The way we treat ourselves sets the tone as to how others treat us. Teach 'em, and they'll learn.
28 isn't some magical number, although even numbers do make my heart happy, nor is it an age that's spoken about often. It sorta falls into the cracks. I remember when turning 16 was everything, then it was 18, then 21, then 25... now 30 seems to be the next big milestone. What I don't want is for us to keep the habit of glazing over these years because they're not "special". Every year that you're walking this Earth is a chance for you to make magic!
Danni, Community + Content Director at Las Morenas de España, is a twenty-something, Chicago native currently residing in Madrid. Lover of language, words, and travel, she's managed to combine all of her passions through her work. In her free time, you can find her exploring the winding streets of Madrid, hunting down good flight deals, planning her next adventure and writing & researching for LMDES. Danni loves spicy food, natural hair, music and of course, her wonderful husband. If you need to find her, she’s the girl with huge hair and her face buried in her Kindle.