You can admit it. You may have tried forgetting it... Nevertheless, it's there on the horizon.
And I want to tell you wherever you are, it's fine. That's the message I wanted to tell those of you who share my stage of life: in the latter days of their twenties with thirty on the horizon.
Turning twenty six two years ago increased my awareness of my age. Turning twenty seven has made that awareness ever more acute. Like most of you, I've dwelt more on this fact more often than I should have. I've looked over my life since college and made the mistake of comparing it to others. I wonder about different paths, different roads and I try and decipher the pictures on social media to see if friends from high-school or college are more or less content with themselves than I am.
I know you've done this too. We know we shouldn't make these comparisons. But we do. We're human and we have windows into the lives of others as no generation has had before.
In the end though, social media is just that a window. The realm of the internet is a trailer of a person's movie not the biopic of their entire life.
Since coming back to the States in February I've been able to catch up with a number of my peers. Without the pressures of full time teaching I can finally make space to truly reconnect with all the people I'd lost touch with during my two years in Thailand. Whether over Skype or in the flesh the stories I've been told by friends have been as diverse as they have been insightful.
Some people have moved from one country to another, some have changed cities, some have started new careers or gone back to school, some have made a rapid ascent up the ladder.
Many have gotten married, some have gotten divorced, some have ended long relationships, some have moved back in with their parents, others have moved out.
And for some their world has not changed significantly at all. They remain in the same place they were two years ago, working the same job, living in the same house, together with the same person.
All these changes have been fascinating to learn about. Each life is so different and yet the one thing that holds us all together is that no one really feels like they have figured everything out. There's still, for most people I've talked to, a sense of uncertainty about their journey. For all the empty spaces we've filled in our lives, there remain vacancies. Some old some new.
A successful job but no relationship, a profession which brings money and prestige but no personal satisfaction, a fulfilling profession that doesn't pay quite enough to support a family.
We are fuller people. Yet we are also more aware than ever of the empty places in ourselves.
Yet, it's all alright. I'm here to write you that it's okay. I believe one day many of those holes will be filled and the few that remain will be become treasures to us.
Because the older we get the more comfortable we become with the weaknesses we have and prouder of the strengths we possess. I find myself loving the holes and vacancies in my life with new appreciation. We may never be full but that does not mean we are empty. It doesn't mean we can't live a life of meaning, purpose and contentment.
You are not alone in your uncertainty and ambiguity. That is what this decade is all about. :)