How do you celebrate an age like 27? It's just past the prime of youth when no decision seems irrevocable and your chief motivation is adventure. And it's not quite approaching 30 by which time, the world seems to tell us, everything should more or less ressemble how it's going to be in 40 years time in terms of career, partner and favourite hairdresser (or at the very least the next 7, given the current divorce statistics). In other words, now is when life should be solidifying, taking shape.
Instead, what is it doing? Somehow you couldn't make this metaphor up. I wake up on my birthday in the UK, surrounded by the pleasure of the known, and by the time the sun sets I'll be on a ferry in the North Sea with all my worldly goods - minus the TV that refuses to work on the continent -heading towards a castle in the middle of Belgium. For one night. Then on to Brussels where I have to locate my remaining things from a series of different apartments and move into a temporary place in the red light district. For 3 weeks. And then? That's when my 27th year pretty much becomes a mystery to me.
Let's forget 'where do you see yourself in 5 years'. At this present time seeing even 5 weeks into the future is difficult. But maybe that is the point. If anything, for Westerners like myself, 27 is an age where you have to give serious consideration with what you're going to do for the rest of your youth (according to surveys this now lasts til 29 guys - make the most of it!) and make some vaguely coherent outline of your priorities for the future.
How this compares to my sisters in other parts of the world. I was disconcerted to discover, when dining with some Saudi friends the other night, that 25 is most definitely over the hill (even though only one of the women I was with was actually married - that's what happens with intelligent women the world over it seems. No cultural relativism there). Likewise, in my parent's generation, there's no way a woman of my age would be calling herself a girl.
But there we are: you're only as old as your cultural background tells you to feel. My one resolution though, is to learn to reach the G chord on the guitar before this time next year...And K and I are going to learn to knit. If you see this dear, happy birthday to you too :)