Don’t worry, you’re not the only one to have a total break down after turning 27

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By Alice Austin

When I was 19 years old I remember saying to a friend ‘I’ll give up smoking when I’m older, like 21 or something.’ The friend I was speaking to was already 21 and took huge offence. When I reached 21 I certainly didn’t feel old, and laughed jovially about silly 19-year-old me. Hahahahahaha. HAHAHAHA.

That friendly age banter is now an all-encompassing personal crisis served with a side of anxiety and fear for my dank future. No one flagged 27 as being an age that would absolutely floor you. It snuck up on us. 27’s a sneak.

Maybe it’s because you’re officially in your late-20s. Or maybe it’s because it’s the age where it’s a bit weird to hang out with people in their early 20s. Or because it’s the age where you should have a partner, and if not, your aunt demands at your birthday barbecue, why not? It’s the age where you should have disposable income. The age where it might not be okay to go travelling because you’ll be hanging out with people in their early 20s or (Jesus) late teens. The age where hostels in South East Asia are off limits.

The age where you look through your Facebook feed and see statuses like “We’re homeowners!” and “Dinner in The Shard!” You scroll through as you slowly work your way through a family bag of Cool Original Doritos with a single tear drifting down your face.

To the outraged readers who are older than 27, this isn’t actually about age. Turning 27 is different to turning 28, 29 and 30. It’s the age where you adjust to being in a new check-box of beings.

Here are a few things that might happen when you turn 27 and I’m here to tell you you’re not alone, it’s all going to be okay.

You’ll spend every weekend doing exactly what you did when you were 23 but feeling very very not okay about it anymore

I know that your dad had already had you by this age but I reckon he wished he was still doing what we are doing instead.

You’ll break up with the long term boyfriend/girlfriend you met in your early 20s

Because you’ve been together for about 4 years now, and you’ve actually got quite a lot of life to live yet. The options you have are either A. move in with them (if you haven’t already), save to buy a house, buy a house, be committed to that person for the rest of your life, get married, have kids, divorce/die together. Or B. End it because you’ve already run out of things to say to each other.

You’ll plan to go travelling/do a CELTA course

Because we’ve been in the workplace for a drab 5 years at this point, and we’ve learnt several times over that the companies we work for don’t actually care about us, we’re never going to get paid that well, it’s always going to be boring and we aren’t contributing to the greater good of the world. So fuck it, go teach English in Cambodia.

You’ll consider going back to university to do a Masters

Even though at the time, you hated your university town, you didn’t find your lectures interesting at all and the English city you chose to go to bored the shit out of you, it still seems like quite a good idea to save all your money and apply to do a Masters in a field you think you might be happy in. Good idea, do that. Just consider doing it where it’s free like Finland, Netherlands or Germany 😉

You’ll move to a different country

This will solve all of your problems but create new ones at the same time. When one problem window closes, another one opens.

As your 28th year approaches your meltdown will subside. After what can only be described as a turbulent year, you’ll finally start to settle back into the reality of being alive and coming to terms with the fact that you might not like your job that much but who does? Your crisis might have allowed you to take up a new hobby that you love or you might be on your way to the career you always dreamed of. You could be reading this as you dip your toes in an infinity pool in Cambodia after a long day teaching English as a foreign language, or arm in arm with a shiny new spouse that you want to spend the rest of your life with.

Congratulations!!! You did it, you got through the worst year in the world, with or without the aide of anti-depressants that you’ll wean yourself off in the next couple of years. Next up, 35! But that’s not for ages.

2 Replies to “Don’t worry, you’re not the only one to have a total break down after turning 27”

  1. I chuckled, chortled and snickered all the way through this. It took me right back to when I hit the dreaded 27. I was living in a bedsit in Earl’s Court, temping. I had a degree in philosophy but no one was hiring smart ass American girls to philosophize on street corners. My husband was about to start a 3 yr drama course, and I still hadn’t decided what I wanted to be when I grew up. It seemed to me then that the reason 27 was so bad is that it’s over the hump to 30. What I learned over time–and the reason for my merriment at your essay–is that ALL the 7s are bad. Welcome to 37, 47, 57, and 67! I think the gift we have is being able to write our way into and out of stuff. Loved this post–and will be back.

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