On Turning 28: To Blowing My Own Balloons (Literally)

The clock strikes midnight. The words “Happy New Year!” reverberate through the streets. The energy is as hopeful as the dawn of a new season should feel. It all culminates in bright, colorful and loud fireworks in the distance. As celebration fills the air and I imagine, the hearts and minds of the people around me, I am going through one of the most uncertain and confusing seasons of my life. I feel lost. That’s no way to start a new year but it was my way of welcoming 2022.

What a foreshadowing! The first half of 2022 is nothing short of harrowing. Being in my late 20s and feeling like I don’t have much to show for it is disappointing. I know that if I tell you that the culprit of these feelings is comparison, you will let me off easy. Now let me risk trusting you with the truth, I grew out of the comparison trap a long time ago; I don’t want anyone else’s life. I am just a result-oriented person who was not seeing any results. Right now, I also do not want to be told not to be too hard on myself. I am taking all the social media therapists’ advice and comparing myself to the person I was before and you know what? At this point, that girl is doing much better than the current version of me! Now what?

Pause! Have you stopped crying yet? Let’s fast forward to the Friday of my birthday weekend. I feel sick. I’ve spent most of the day resting and feeling sorry for myself. My birthday, coming up that Sunday, signified the start of a new year for me. Yet, there I was, stuck feeling miserable on its eve. Unlike the beginning of 2022, everything else had aligned for me. I was in a brand new and much more positive mental space, my body just wasn’t on the same page.

Regardless, my clock would strike midnight once again and this time, I would show up for the celebration. My birthday. My new year. My rules on how to celebrate myself. That Friday evening, I bounce out of bed, struggle to blow my own balloons then hang them up to decorate the entrance to my apartment in pink, white and silver splendor.

Saturday morning, I walk past my balloons and crack a smile at this reminder that no matter how I’m feeling, I can always choose to show up for myself. As if the heavens have conspired to flood me with confirmation, while cleaning out a cupboard, I see a letter my mother wrote to me just before I started university. Her words jump out at me, “I give you this opportunity to be the person you want to be, not to please anyone but yourself and God”. A sudden realization washes over me; I can be whoever I want to be.

The clock strikes midnight. It’s 00:00 on Sunday morning. Nothing spectacular happens. I look into the darkness of this comforting and quiet night. The feeling of dread has worn off. My energy is as hopeful as the dawn of a new season should feel. I look to my right and stare at the beautiful balloons that cover my wall. I am living through one of the most exciting seasons of my life. I refuse to let it pass me by. This is the perfect way to start a new year.


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1 Comment

  1. November 23, 2022 / 9:07 pm

    This resonates with me in so many ways. I’ve learnt to just do what makes me happy and not worry what others are doing. You end up putting unnecessary pressure on yourself

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