My 27th birthday is fast approaching and, unlike previous years, this impending age is making me feel as if I was just given a debilitating chokeslam. Maybe it’s because, like many of us, I imagined my life would be completely different right now, but more likely it’s because I’ve read far too many of those, “Woe is me, I’m in my late twenties” articles that I’m starting to let it adversely affect my brain. This morning I woke up and made an executive, 27-year-old woman decision that rather than mope around eating red velvet cake and tolling over the things that aren’t going as planned, I’m going to take a proactive stance and focus on some resolutions, of sorts. Here is a sampling of things I’ve decided to alter beginning November 20.
1. I will stop pretending to care about sports.
This is a complete waste of time my time. Each August like clockwork I decide I’m going to be a football fan. I’ll pick a team (usually my dad briefs me on the Raiders, a team I feel looks super tough, and naturally I forget by the following year), and I’ll vow to follow all the games, get to know the players and go to the bar on Sundays to impress men with my undying passion for records and field goals. Unsurprisingly, by the time October rolls around I’m far more interested in eating game day snacks and getting fans’ phone numbers than paying an ounce of attention to the action on the field.
To be honest all that pretending every year is taxing. It’s time to be candid with myself and others: I HATE FOOTBALL. The feeling of relief when I notice there’s only 2 minutes left in the 4th quarter is comparable to the feeling I used to have as a fat child walking in the door Halloween night with a King-size pillow case filled with Snickers and Kit-Kats. Oppositely, when a game goes into overtime – just kill me now. The only redeeming quality about a game in my opinion is that it’s an excuse to have a ton of beers on a Sunday, but ya know what – I’d be equally content with a frosty bottle of wine and a Katherine Heigl movie marathon. At age 27, Facebook statuses like, “AHH! Can’t believe that loss!” will never appear unless referring to a favorite contestant being kicked off The Bachelor. Instead I’ll be happily busy on Sundays getting a manicure or at the local thrift shop hunting for cheap cable-knit sweaters.
2. I’ll give my Justin Bieber playlist some time off.
These days I hold my hand over my phone screen when changing songs so people can’t see what I’m listening to. Sometimes, however, my plan to conceal my embarrassing taste in music goes awry. Like the one day when the hottest man that ever rode the E train was standing less than a foot from me when my iPhone accidently started playing Bieber out loud. That sucked.
Beginning in 2nd grade my parents only let me listen to The Rolling Stones and put me on a strictly classic rock n’ roll path. If they knew who Biebs was, and that I listened to him, I’d be grounded. The worst part is I know his underground tunes too, something I’m not proud to admit as I climb the ladder to 30. As such, I’ll spend the next month mentally preparing to hit delete on my “As long as BIEBS <3s ME” playlist.
3. I will never again reply to a “Wut u doin tonite?” text after midnight.
Wut am I doin? Nothing that involves being near you. Earth to you, gentlemen: My phone does, in fact, function before midnight. Now that I’m blossoming into this real woman, I don’t have the energy for this kind of funny business. Admittedly, I’ve spent many years oddly feeling a sense of excitement to see these sorts of creepy texts. But why? These messages scream, “I don’t care about you. I just want to see your naked heiny. Also, please don’t sleep over.” Well, paws off. This Cinderella-hour magic is not going to work on me any longer. There’s one painstakingly dreadful memory that I’ll continue to remind myself of in order to stick to this oath. It began with a late night text and ended with me drunk, covered in dirt and woodchips and crying on the handlebars of my best friend’s bike while carrying a heavy heart and a backpack overflowing with warm Budweisers and Lairds vodka. Cringeworthy.
4. I will only date very nice men.
Don’t make me cry or I’ll punch you in the head.
5. I will cook some nice meals for myself.
There is no excuse why I don’t know how to cook anything aside from chicken and pasta. I come from an Italian family, all of whom cook to the likes of Gods, and then there’s me. Though she doesn’t say so, my sweetheart of a grandmother must certainly be disappointed. For her sake I will now give up dinners of cereal and candy corn.
6. I will stop trying to dress like my 18-year-old sister.
My little sister is seemingly half my height, weight and age. Yet more often than not I spy on her outfits on Instagram and scheme how I can find equally as stylish things. The problem is – I can’t wear crop tops. I also can’t wear sneakers and crew socks without feeling like IceBox from the Little Giants. I must now dress my age. Goodbye PacSun. It was a good run.
7. I will stop feeling guilty about being hungover.
Let’s face it. I’m no longer a spring chicken. It is OK to feel like shit after drinking greater than 10 vodka sodas and a laundry list of shots. Don’t feel like getting out of bed on Saturday until 3pm? Who the hell cares. I’m old now; I don’t need to pretend I can bounce back quickly. There’s no reason to force myself to go to brunch at noon the following day so I don’t miss out on any fun. That same exact brunch will happen next week and the week after.
8. That said, I’m scrapping FOMO altogether.
I’ve had a whole lot of fun in my life so far, but the reality is a lot of these crazy times mesh together in my head (e.g., I’m convinced the morning my friends and I spotted a bread truck making a.m. deliveries and drunkenly ate loaves out of the trunk and the time I got booted from the bar for a fake ID which said I was born in 1961 had to have been the same occasion – though in actuality these events were years apart). Sadly, the nights that vividly stick out in my mind as both insanely fun and unmistakably unique are the ones I ended up physically hurt (I’m looking at you 2006 OAR concert at PNC Bank Arts Center). If I miss something one weekend it’s not going to be the end of the world. I probably won’t even remember it clearly a few years from now. And who knows – it may even mean I walk into work Monday morning unscathed.
9. I will start wearing nightgowns.
Finally! I have been wondering when it would be OK for this. 27 it is.
10. I’m going to hold doors for people more often.
Sometimes I’m inadvertently rude. I find myself walking around, headphones in, getting into my zone listening to “Run the World” and thinking about the latest episode of The Mindy Project or whatever. At these times I like to pretend no one exists besides me. Don’t talk to me. Don’t stand too close to me (I’m far too sensitive to weird smells). Don’t hand me a newspaper while I’m trying to navigate the subway turnstile. Nothin’. There have been roughly 50 occasions where someone has tried to talk to me despite seeing the headphones and I just push right past them. It didn’t dawn on me how cruel I am with this until I started noticing how rude I find this behavior when it’s enacted on me.
Case in point, last week I was exiting Duane Reade carrying a dog, a purse large enough to fit a dead body and three giant bags of useless junk I just purchased and I was visibly struggling. Two separate young men donning their buds made it a point to not only cut in front of me, but let the door slam shut on me in the process. That was mean.
To the woman I shoved into/ made my puppy growl at/didn’t give money to at Penn Station recently: Next time I see you I’ll definitely at least hold the door.