Jul 23

Musings on Turning 28 AKA What Am I Doing With My Life

Thoughts on my 28th birthdayI recently found myself at work focusing on my job  browsing the interwebs and came across a film critic’s list of great 30 under 30 actors and performers. I scanned the list, and noticed how many shared my age: Lady Gaga, Robert Pattinson, Lena Dunham, Lana Del Rey, Drake,  and Megan Fox are all 28. It’s all too easy to see that list of incredibly successful and beautiful people who have achieved so much in the same lifespan as you and then look in the mirror and say, “well, shit.” (Of course Lindsay Lohan and Amanda Bynes are 28 too, so at least I can comfort myself that I haven’t joined them in the deep end, yet.)


Tomorrow I turn 28.  I’ve been peering into the mirror lately, wondering who and what exactly it is I see staring back. Mostly I notice the wrinkles, etched across my forehead like drawings my students penned on me for fun.  But I also see a girl with glistening eyes, fragments of her youth gliding away with every falling teardrop, landing in her hand where she desperately tries to pool them together only to watch them slip through her fingers.


I see a girl who has nothing conventional in her life figured out: no partner, no house, no children, no career, no discernable path to follow. Who is this girl? How did she arrive at this point? She must be a complete mess.


But in looking back at the 27 years I’ve spent making my way to this day, I don’t think my life is truly lacking.


In my 27 years I have loved, and l have lost.


In my 27 years I have stayed and I have gone, when each was the heartbreaking choice.


In my 27 years I have learned how to be a true friend, and how to seek one in return.


In my 27 years I have learned to value myself, and not to settle.


In my 27 years I have traveled the world and seen pockets of humanity that are wonderful, devastating, eye-opening, and inspiring.


My life has been anything but dull. I have danced as an aerialist, slept on the beach of a deserted island, lived in a foreign country, worked with people with special needs, sang opera in front of 4,000 people, brewed tasty beer, taught English and mentored students, and don’t get me started on all the hilarious dates I’ve been on.

Thoughts on my 28th birthday

Brewing beer and aerial dancing

No, I don’t have everything figured out that some others my age do, but that doesn’t make me hopeless. It might mean I’ll be an older parent, or that I may not be able to buy a house in the near future. It also might mean I’m drunk calling people at 3am a little more frequently than my peers. So be it.


Twenty-eight is not an age I had ever really considered; when I was younger, I just assumed I would have it all figured out by now. So I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared about my life at this point. Sometimes I am overwhelmed with the crippling fear that I’m falling behind, that I’ve wasted my prime years, that my youth is gone and it’s too late for me to amount to anything. I wonder if I’ll always be single and how on earth I’ll ever have the money to retire.


But a part of me also knows the worries are nonsense.


Thoughts on my 28th birthday

Volunteering award at the Red Cross; hiking to a temple in Korea; diving the Channel Islands


I realize that every choice I’ve made has led me to this point. At each crossroads in life I took a path that I felt in my heart was right for me and looking back I know I did the right thing each time. I know that in these next years I need to hone in on my goals and work a few things out, but I really do feel like I’m heading in the right direction.

So tomorrow, as I enter this new year around the sun, I’m going to do what I know how to do best: drink wine, laugh, savor the moment, and probably make a few drunk phone calls. Cheers!


Thoughts on my 28th birthday

  • Happy birthday!! (Is it tomorrow yet? :))

    Wait a minute, you sang Opera in front of 4,000 people? I didn’t know about you Opera-times – to tell more!

    And now seriously – I’m 30, and I don’t have things figured out (no house, no partner, no children…) but you know what? There’s also a few other less desirable things that I don’t have – debt, a mortgage, a commitment to one place. I think it’s a nice trade off 😉

    • KaleenasKaleidoscope

      Thank you! Haha well I said I did it, I didn’t say it was good! 😉 It was from my pageant days at Miss California… pageants were how I put myself through college and graduated without debt. Huzzah!

  • Happy birthday!! I love your attitude. I’m also 28 and my life is fairly similar in the sense that I don’t have any of the traditional life things figured out yet. When I have the ocassional panic attack of wtf am I doing I just think about the all the amazing places and people and food and sunsets and experiences that I’ve come across and I feel better. I don’t have a house or kids or partner but I have other things that I find infinitely more satisying at this point in my life.

    • KaleenasKaleidoscope

      Thanks! You’re right, we’ve experienced a lot of amazing things that people with careers and mortgages have missed out on. But you’re going to grad school so at least you’re working toward something!

  • I turn 28 in January and also get the feeling I’ve missed a lot of what my friends my age are going through too – Marriage, kids, (divorce). But then I remember that I’m living abroad and all I ever wanted to do when I was a kid was see the world. 😀 I’d love to tell 12 year old me all about her life right now.

    • KaleenasKaleidoscope

      Yeah, a couple of my friends are already divorced and are single parents now–not a position I envy! I think 12 year old me would be pretty stoked.

  • Oh, and happy belated birthday! 😀

    • KaleenasKaleidoscope

      Haha thanks!