I’m turning 28 on Friday!
I don’t love birthdays. I feel forced to take stock of my life and evaluate my general life trajectory. This is the first birthday I have celebrated as not a student. So, by default, does this mean I’m a grown-up?
On one hand, I do feel like I can play that part. For example:
I was appalled at the 8:30 pm start time for the Oscars: don’t people work anymore?
I “rest my eyes” on the daily
I cannot properly use the “self-check-out” line at the grocery store and always need cashier assistance
I get two-day hangovers
At the same time, I feel like such a kid. And, when I think about “grown-up” things, I feel totally fraudulent and question everything in my life.
Should I be married? Shouldn’t I at least be engaged?
When will I learn to properly apply blush?
Why don’t I have children yet, and is it atypical to be uncertain about wanting them?
Will I ever stop locking myself out of the house?
Why can I still not cross the street safely? I have “close calls” all the time (I was recently scolded by a passerby outside Starbucks for my risky moves. In my defense, I was coming to Lithe, and nothing is more important than that)
The clinical psychologist in me takes this to mean that this is a “transitional” period in my life that is inherently confusing. I am young at heart but I also have an old soul; sometimes those two parts of me conflict and make it difficult for me to feel cohesively “mature”.
Dr. Dore: Really, let’s think about this. You express an inclination towards thinking and behaving in ways you did as a youth.
Dr. Dore: But you also express disinterest in many things that your same-aged peers would consider important…
Rachel: I think there’s something wrong with me.
Dr. Dore: You might interpret your thoughts that way, or you might just accept them for what they are: just thoughts…
Dr. Dore: Perhaps you might consider honoring these conflicting parts of yourself. Embrace your multi-dimensionality instead of looking at is as pathological. Who says you can’t be both young and old?
Rachel: You sound annoying. You’re a quack.
Dr. Dore: It might be useful for you to integrate an activity into your daily life that allows you to honor both the “older” and the “younger” parts of yourself.
Rachel: I see. Like if they hang out with each other enough they will become besties
Dr. Dore: Or at the very least better-tolerate each other so that you don’t feel so confused all the time about who you are and what you want.
Rachel: Gotcha. I’ll think about it.
Image of Lithe Instructor Rachel Dore, PSY.D. wearing Lithe's Hot-stepper dress via Dom