the 27th year
Every year, right around the beginning of fall (and a few weeks before my birthday), I feel the onset of a mild identity crisis. I’m sure it has everything to do with another digit looming over my head, and it’s gotten noticeably worse as I creep closer and closer to my 30s.
This is the time of the year when I stand in front of the bathroom mirror, pouring over every line and wrinkle in my face in an effort to determine if I am starting to look older. I scrutinize my career choices and feel immense pressure to get off my duff and start perusing what I really want out of life. Then I start to analyze what I actually want out of life. Then I try to stuff down an imminent fear of regret and failure if I don't achieve those things.
And then I start obsessing over my hair like a vain, shallow idiot.
If you look at pictures of me from over the past few years, I can almost guarantee you that my hair changes radically in length between September and October (with the exception of last year. Last year I was trying desperately to achieve some kind of Rapunzel-esque notoriety). Maybe it has something to do with fall representing a fresh start (the start of a new school year always screamed “New!” to me—new clothes, new classes, new school supplies), but I’m always ready for a change right about now. And the quickest thing to change is my hair. It doesn’t cost much, it grows back, and it’s an obvious way to reflect how I feel about myself at any given point in my life.
I love having long hair, but it’s been ages since I’ve had tresses flowing down my back because I have horrible hair. My hair is fine, stick-straight and has started doing this really neat trick where a million little split ends stick up all along the top of my head. It seems so much more manageable to just plop it on top of my head in one those obnoxious messy buns that makes Clayton want to walk 10 feet in front of me when we’re out in public. I hate having my hair in my face because it’s just a reminder that the hair in my face well, sucks.
So it’s only natural that I toy with the idea of cutting it off frequently, right around my birthday.
I’ve yet to muster up the guts to go much higher than an inch off my shoulders, but I have to say, the idea certainly appeals to me. With my type of hair, I know that a shorter, more blunt style would really work in my favor, but I tend to romanticize having long, tousled waves (which is hilarious because even when my hair is long enough, it holds curl about as well as a bucket with holes holds water). Plus, with running, softball and volleyball, having hair long enough for a pony tail is a must. Short hair would always be in my face.
|I found this image on Pinterest, |
but I can't find it's original sources.
And I would give just about anything to feel cute and confident right now.
I think this birthday is going to be harder than any of my previous because 27 will be my official exit out of my mid 20s and mark the leap into my late 20s. The mere thought of being that much closer to 30 makes me break into a cold sweat. It’s not because there’s anything wrong with getting older (I’ve actually heard a rumor that there is nothing you can do to stop that). Rather, I get panicked by my birthday’s subtle reminder that life is moving insanely fast and our time is so limited and so, so precious. It reminds me that I need to stop wasting my younger, carefree years (and when I say carefree, I mean “childless”) by letting my anxiety and other personal demons steal my joy on a daily, continuous basis. I have so much going for me right now, and I need to live in the moment and appreciate that.
Clay and I will talk about starting a family in the upcoming years and I am so obviously not ready to be a mother (not financially, emotionally, spiritually, or mentally). While one can never fully be prepared to have a baby, I have a lot of work to do on myself before I could even consider being a parent to a precious, innocent life. Another birthday means the gap between myself and motherhood is getting that much smaller, and the window of time for Clayton and I to enjoy only each other is shrinking. (And that scares the hell out of me.)
Why all of these heavy thoughts manifest themselves into a personal debate over a haircut, I have no idea. I’m sure Fraud and Dr. Phil would have a few theories, but my best guess is that my hairstyle is, in some small way, a physical representation of my identity. When you’re suddenly unsure about your identity (or were never really sure to begin with), the look you project to the world becomes increasingly crucial.
That, or focusing on an otiose problem like hair simply takes some focus and attention off of what’s really bothering me.
Ugh, I am SO drinking on my birthday.