I never expected this is where I would be at 27. I don’t know where exactly I thought I’d be, but I don’t think I’d have ever guessed here: broke, single, and teaching two year olds in Thailand. My mom was 27 when she married my dad…who was 22. I never imagined I’d wait as long as she did to get married. 27 was old. And I never imagined I’d be teaching babies. And here I am. Enjoying teaching, and thankfully unmarried…my goodness.
As for the broke part, that is slowly, gradually changing. I may not be the most financially stable individual (and no, Bank of America, I will not be paying your $70 overdraft fees. Rude.) but I am thriving on what I’ve got here, and that is enough.
If I had to use one word to describe my life up to this point, I think I’d choose bewildering. Nothing has gone according to any plan I’ve ever had. I used to think I’d go to college, graduate, and move into a fancy job in publishing or editing (does that count as a fancy job? I don’t know). When I told people I was majoring in English they’d inevitably ask, “oh are you going to be a teacher?” And I’d respond with a resounding “no.” And now I’m doing exactly that.
But my life, despite its many unexpected difficulties, has been good. I am amazed at how incredible the opportunities I’ve had have been. It has not been easy. And I am often bewildered at how hard it has been. But what remains consistently true is that the difficulties have never taken away from the goodness.
I have depression. Now, at 27, and a decade ago at 17. That has been one of the most consistent aspects of my life. And if you’ve ever struggled with mental illness, you know just how hard that is. But what I also find bewildering is that it has never stopped me from living a full life–a good life.
Outside of a few close friends, I’ve never been very open about my depression. I feel like there’s enough negativity in the world without me adding to it. But what I’ve found is that while that may be true, it has also created a life in which I can never be fully known.
So here it is. The whole me. 27 years old.
I like cross stitching, and knitting, and sipping cheap wine. I like pancakes and waffles and the smell more than the taste of coffee in the morning. I like walking and running but hate riding bikes. I despise mushrooms and things with tentacles and only like broccoli when it’s cooked. I love Star Wars. And pretty much all other sci fi. I adore good novels. I struggle immensely with depression, anxiety, and insomnia. But that’s not who I am.
I am a teacher. I am a daughter. I am a friend. A sister, a grandchild, a caretaker, a musician, a writer, a thinker. Not a sleeper, but a pretty good dreamer…striving to be more bewildered by the beauty of the world than the pain contained in it.
So maybe that’s what I’ve learned after 27 years. We get to pick who we are and what defines us. And I choose the good things. I choose the unknown over careful plans. I choose a good life even when it’s not an easy life. I choose joy. Adventure. Perseverance. Love. I choose bewilderment.