There seems to be an interesting thing that happens to us humans between the ages of 25 and 29. For some, it comes a little sooner, others later, but eventually, we all realize that we are here. But what does that really mean? What does it mean to be here? And who are we really? These seem to be the only thoughts circling in my tornado of a brain for the past few months. Do I really love all the things I’ve always loved? Do I truly care about the things I once cared about, or do I care about them because I’ve been taught to care about them? It sounds crazy, but take a second to think about it…
Isn’t it odd how, when you’re a kid, you can’t wait to be a teen, and then when you’re finally a teen, you can’t wait to be a young adult (so everyone can take you seriously) and then your late twenties slap you in the face and suddenly you don’t know what the f*ck is going on.
I had this silly little idea of how life is supposed to go. Now it’s seemingly naïve and almost embarrassing, but I’ll share it with you anyway. In my mind, it went as follows: You learn the basics as a child, your teenage years are for self-discovery, and then, eventually, you become this perfectly whole “adult” with everything figured out. You think that you’ve acquired all the tools necessary to go out in the world and be someone. Everything you’ve learned, gathered, and absorbed expected to be applied. You think you’ve got it all figured out. Wrong! In your late twenties, you realize that’s not how it goes at all. You realize that no matter how much you plan or picture your future, life throws you these unexpected curve balls, and you're up to bat!
Was I the only person in the world thinking this? Why didn’t I have any of these thoughts before? Why was my perfect picture of how life is “supposed to go” crumbling down, and becoming less and less familiar? Why hadn’t I been briefed? I pictured someone sitting me down in a small FBI-like interrogation room, at the age of 18.
“OK Chloe, listen, life is going to be a lot of fun and then around your 27th year, you’re going to start questioning everything, and then, well…and then sh*t gets real. Good luck!”
Would my fearless 18-year-old self even understand? I doubt it. My sister once told me, I can describe the ocean to you, I can tell you what it smells like and how it feels, but until you’ve been there and experienced the ocean for yourself, you have no clue what the ocean is like, nor can you entirely grasp its depth and feeling. My 27th year didn’t feel like a first time ocean encounter; serene and calm, warm waves crashing at my toes. My 27th year felt like a f*cking tsunami, washing away any sandcastle I had built to call my own.
However, what I’ve come to realize is: when you reach your late twenties, you’re brought to face what I’d call your "canvas of time." It's the same canvas you were given as a child, only over time it's been a little tainted, a little used, even a little painted on by others. When you realize this, you have the opportunity to wipe your canvas clean, and you’re required to weed through everything you’ve ever known or found comfort in and decide what stays and what goes. Every decision or idea of painting now feels incredibly important and life-changing (even the smallest brush strokes). Your canvas is yours and you have all the most beautiful colours at your disposition, to paint whatever masterpiece it is that you please. Some days feel incredibly freeing and exciting while others downright terrifying.