Twenty Eight

“What twenty eight feels like”

Every year of your 20s is subject to a very specific set of emotions, at least that’s what I think. 21 is great for obvious, surface-level reasons. 22 is a train wreck if you graduated in four years, and are then thrust into real life. 25 is when pretty much everything changes – from your priorities to your body. And, then, there’s 28. I don’t know what it is about this age in particular, but I’ve deemed it “The Crisis Year” and here’s why.

The realization that you’re now officially in your “late 20s” is enough to send you straight into the climax of a full-blown panic attack. You don’t even get to start at the beginning of the said attack, no. You wake up on your 28th birthday (Just like I did today), screaming and dry heaving. It’s an instinctual reaction to knowing that, for the next 365 days of your life, you will be teetering on the fine line between actual adulthood and clutching on desperately to your youth.

Because you’re now in your late 20s, your parents start to treat you more like an GULP adult. Even if you’ve been paying your own way since forever, maybe you both secretly knew deep down that, in case of a huge emergency, asking them for help wasn’t off-limits. But, when 28 hits, it’s no longer an option.

You just feel old(er). There’s something about the curvy lines of the number “8” that cast a darker and much more serious shadow over things. You’ll still go out to popular nightlife establishments, but you will be internally ashamed about your age the entire time you’re there. And the horror if someone is to ask you how old you are! Being 26 in a nightclub is vastly different. Probably because you’re still in your mid-20s and because the shape of the number “6” is naturally fun and loopy, so it makes you feel safe.

Everyone you know is getting engaged.

Everyone you know is getting married.

Let’s face it – after graduation, no one’s never not getting married. Before your eyes, your Facebook feed turns into an endless stream of engagement announcements. And, unless you decide to cast yourself out of society, this parade of seemingly happy couples moving forward together won’t slow down until probably age 30. But there’s something about the specific age of 28 that lends itself to just being drowned in marriage announcements no matter where you turn. It’s either couples who have been together for 6+ years finally taking the plunge, or “real world” couples who met a few years ago and got super serious, super fast. Either way, it’s a single 28-year-old’s worst nightmare.

Being tw0 years away from 30 is a bleak reality to face. Four years is like no big deal, because that’s an entire university experience. But two? Two will soon be one, and then you’re 30. 20somethings are delusional in many ways, but one of the biggest is how we think, by 30, our entire lives should be figured out. Married, babies, dream job, bla bla bla – all by 30. It’s a subtle attitude we all have that wants to scream, “30 OR BUST!” But, the closer you inch toward that milestone birthday, the more you realize what a total crock of shit all that is. And how you couldn’t be further away from having it all figured out if you tried.

Going back to one of the first points I made, being 28 is like perilously seesawing between “real” adulthood and (what feel like) the last crumbs of your true youth. Half of you feels an enormous pressure to fully grow-up, while the other half of you is crippled by the notion of doing so. On one hand, you are sort of ready to get serious about love, career, and overall responsibility. On the other hand, you just want to continue making out at random, and generally freaking the fuck out over the future. Every day you wake up, there’s no telling which of these two ideals your mood is going with.

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67 thoughts on “Twenty Eight

    1. Thanks Susan for the wishes. I loved the lyrics. Oldies never lose their charm. Back then, while I was growing, John denver’s ‘leaving on a jet plane’ used to be the one I always hummed day and night 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Your emphasis strike well when it comes to rural areas since I have seen a large change among urbanites in skewing their mentality towards the female gender :)..BTW, kolkata didn’t serve me rosogullas..not fair 😛

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 😀 Sometimes you feel pressured for getting married and sometimes you look desparate for the same. Btw, it requires at least one girl before you start planning your wedding… or do you have too many options to choose from? Lol. Happy birthday! Belated. 🎂🍰🎊🎁

        Still a big majority of India lives in such pitiful mindset.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Happy birthday Neal!!!!!! God bless you!!! Be happy always!!! 😊😊😊I actually thought, you were in your early twenties, but now that I know you’re not…. I can just say, All the best!!!
    And after reading it, the 28 number isn’t just a number for me. Though, I feel for a girl, it’s 25… She is considered unmarried at this age. All the long lost relatives, neighbours and all those who you haven’t seen ever in your life comes and asks… When are getting married? And to deal with your parents is totally another thing…. Sometimes, it gets so difficult. You’re not single anymore after 25, you’re unmarried.

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    1. Quite funny that some took me to be younger and some older, when I on the other hand was striding in the middle :P..and speaking from my experience, well that’s a common norm one has to face these days irrespective of the gender ;)..

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    1. Haha I will take that as a compliment. Got plenty of life experience in such short span that I could easily dwarf the experience of older generations ;).. Hope you are doing fine Daria. 🙂

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  2. You make it sound so scary!!
    Don’t worry, every year brings with it new means of happiness and sorrows..so I’m sure you too will find your 28th a very special one in it’s own unique way..and as far as parents are concerned, to be honest, I think we never grow up in their perspective…so we can always go back to them in the time of any crisis…we just need to feel free about it..
    And lastly, I wish you a very Happy birthday! I know it’s a little late to wish you though. But anyway, have a great life ahead..I’m sure you’ll do just fine..best wishes for you! 🙂 🙂

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  3. Thank GOD nobody I knew was trying to get married and have babies by 30! We’re only getting around to the engagements now! There’s not as much of a rush as you’re making out to be, don’t worry – you still have a few years of reasonable non-adulting before people start talking to you about freezing embryos and engagement rings….

    28 is a great age! Happy birthday!

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  4. Hahahah. Happy belated birthday. I’m turning 22 this year and I’m overly scared because I feel it’s ‘old’. The prospect of turning 28 hasn’t even crossed my mind. But I’ve also been told that your 20’s literally just flash before your eyes. You’re still young! Rejoice that you’re still in the 20’s brackets, and remember you still have another 5/6 decades to go! Life is just getting started 💃🏿🤗✌🏾

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  5. Being almost 2 weeks late doesn’t make sense to lend you even my belated wishes. So, I would refrain from doing that. But I could feel the anxiety of turning 28. No matter how much we try, maybe in a few minutes we would overcome it too, but the very first thought that strikes one’s mind on birthdays (after 20s [mid 20s]) is the old-age that they are heading to.

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    1. Yeah even I in my wildest dreams didn’t think that you will forget wishing me. Damn you Aditi :P.

      And stop scaring me now. The only difference in my routine has been my constant visit to the mirror checking out, if I had indeed turned old 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Okay. I caught the (directed) pun!😛😝
        But no with age I didn’t mean the physical signs of old-age (that doesn’t scare me much), but you know-just getting old.
        Anyhow, I don’t want to scare you (more). So, happy 28!😛

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  6. Lol I hate your background! I was reading attentively when I suspected Deadpool’s eyes moved, tricked into thinking it must be my eyes’ problem, then realized they moved again! It’s like those annoying voicemails where your friends say “hello” three times until they tell you to leave a message. Then again I fell for the same one more than 2 times.
    Anyway, though I’m in my early 20’s, I know that feel bro. Even right out of college people are already getting married. But I don’t think your anxiety will change after 30–it’s possible that it will take years until you feel comfortable/settled. But I like to think of it like how they told us in college these non-STEM majors have the “advantage” of having “unlimited” career opportunities–you can literally be anything. For these people who’ve already made huge steps (which only time can tell if they’re good or bad), their lives are more fixed in some way. But you still have a lot of possibilities. Happy birthday!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha thanks! I always try to imagine there are pros even in bad situations so I can get something out of it no matter what happens…no matter how far-fetched some of them can be lol

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Sorry I’m late to your party, but oh my god… “you wake up on your 28th birthday (Just like I did today), screaming and dry heaving.” I laughed out loud. I hope you have since coped, or are starting to cope, with the big 2-8.

    That being said, glad I can start anticipating this harsh blow from reality now, at 22. So as to not end up like you, waking up screaming and dry heaving. However, I already do that…hm.

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    1. Lol, I love this fear of uncertainty. At least, it keeps me grounded ;). Who knows it might work in my favor as long as I be positive towards the unknown obstacles that my life’s gonna ride through. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I don’t know why, but I giggled throughout this article, maybe because it is all too real for me, I’m on the two year downhill slope to 50. So many of your points I could relate to on a much higher level. Just wait!! It gets so much worse, ! But never fear! It gets find better at the same time.

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  9. 28 can be amazing if you let it. This is your first return of Saturn and your big chance to really make changes. Trust me when I tell you in 8 years you’re going to look at 28 and kind of miss the whirlwind.

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