Last Friday, I turned 27 and officially entered the land of the late 20-something, starting off my countdown to the 30 club. If this were Logan's Run, I would be a red now. It was a pretty quiet birthday weekend- just an Olive Garden famly dinner, a drink or two with a friend and a late-night Saturday trip to Waffle House.
It's gotten me into relfective mood over the age stage I've just left, my mid-20's. When I turned 24, I was a senior in college and I was convinced that my best days were behind me- that there would never be a time as a free and as crazy as being in your early 20's, and I'd never have as much fun as I did the spring/summer I was 23 when I really went for broke with the college partying. 24 was just old, man, and it was all supposed to be downhill from there.
And I couldn't have been more wrong. The ages of 24, 25, 26 were pretty damn good for me. I finished college after 5 years and having some major close calls with failing/flunking out. Through some miracle, I got into grad school on the absolute minimum GPA I needed to get in. And when I decided to can my original choice of Millersville to go to this school in the middle of bumblefuck Western Pennsylvania called IUP, I wound up making one of the best choices in my life.
My two years in grad school were the most difficult, but ultimately rewarding periods in my life. I had the first and only 4.0 semester I've ever had, and met some great professors. I also had two great internships- one at a natural history museum; the other at a local heritage society. I had the eye-opening experience of living in a different region with different mindsets than the one I had grown up in- I mean, really, I took it for granted that if you started shouting E-A-G-L-E-S, people would join in. That's what life is like in the Greater Philly region. It's a totally different mindset in the Greater Pittsburgh area, and I was glad to have experienced that. I had a job for two years- a crappy job, of course, but beggars can't be choosers in this economy and that was the longest time I've ever held a job. And having that job enabled me to pay for Alternative Spring Breaks in Florida (2011) and Tennessee(2012), the latter of which holds some of the best memories I've made in my life. Nothing will ever beat the feeling of standing in the Tennessee air on a beautiful mountain. (Okay, big hill.)
I made some real friends at this age rather than my mainstay of just having "party buddies", and I even found my "grad school" bar- this place called Spaghetti Benders. It wasn't Deer Park Tavern but that was kind of the point- it was a quiet bar with good people from all ages and walks of life who were great people to get to know, and were very different from the typical University of Delaware kids that I grew up with.
I think I was probably the most "open" and eager for new experiences than I had been since I was 19/20...at 22 and 23 I was filled with such cynicism that I really felt like I had been there, done that. These past coupe of years showed me just how wrong I was, and just how much more I have left to experience.
So bring on my late 20's! My mid-20's were awesome...let's hope these next three years are just as awesome.