I've never liked birthdays very much. Mine is sandwiched between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and almost always falls on the last week of school (which, ever since 9th grade has meant Finals Week). However, this month marks the start of my 27th year on this planet.
It's a big year for me because, growing up, I idolized those members of the infamous "27 club"... and since I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life, a part of me always said, "if you don't make it by 27, you're never going to." Although I no longer believe that, those echoes still faintly bounce around in my head; barely audible, but there to remind me, in quiet, lonely times, that I still haven't found myself.
For a while I thought I could be a creative writer, specifically a poet... and although I wrote for six years, I never felt I got good enough to "make it" as a struggling writer. My rebound was philosophy, and although we had a fast-paced, dynamic relationship, it burnt out like it started.
In that time after graduation, where I couldn't bring myself to read or write anything substantial, videogames filled the gaps. As I played more games, and reached out to more gamers, I started to write again. It was a much more healthy and sustainable relationship, like dating that friend from your childhood who you fell out of touch with in college. We got pretty serious, even dabbling in some game making of my own, but it always felt more like a "friends with benefits" kind of thing, rather than a full on passionate thing.
While gaming and writing, I was working in the hotel business, and management looked promising. I'm a good leader and a flexible person, able to function on little sleep, work nights without going crazy, and deal with customers and staff alike. Although I was good at it, the spark just wasn't there. We worked, but we didn't.
I fell back on gaming when the hotel gigs ended, but still not satisfied with it alone, I reached back towards school and another hobby I'd never pursued as hard as I should: web design.
And while starting that path, the art and graphic design bug bit me hard. It combined the creativity of writing, the critical thinking of philosophy, the fun of gaming, and the skills I learned from hotels into one thing where I feel somewhat sturdy on my own... like I could get really good at this. Maybe I could even get really damn good, and leave my imprint on the world in a way even the "27 club" couldn't.
Instead of 27 seeming like the end of the road, it seems more like the beginning. A rebirth of sorts.
I'm turning 27 and, I may be facing the end of life as I knew it, but there's a huge amount of life ahead of me. Perhaps that voice was onto something: maybe that old part of me never could make it... maybe it has to die, so this newfound me can grow. Perhaps, the unsure, unfound version has to be decommissioned to make way for the one that has slowly been coming into its own.
I've never liked birthdays very much... but I guess that doesn't always have to be the case.