Goodbye, 28.

I don’t really care much for birthdays. Especially mine. If anything, I think I should be celebrating my mom for all her hard work rather than celebrating myself. Call me a Debbie Downer, but why would I want to celebrate an occasion I can’t even remember? And this birthday is not particularly exciting. Now that 18 and 21 are gone, the next exciting birthday I have to look forward to is 66, when I become eligible for Social Security and Medicare (if, in fact, they actually exist in 2050).  This year I’m feeling a little depressed about my birthday, my last one before 30. We are coming to the end of an era here people; the ever-expanding fine lines under my eyes don’t lie and neither do my hips. They are larger than ever and if the current trend holds, they probably won’t be getting any smaller.

So 28 has come and gone; this is my very last year in my beloved twenties, a decade that consisted of graduating from college, living abroad, working as a travel writer, moving back home, getting married, getting divorced and settling down in a 9-5 job in the suburbs. But that’s not all. I lost and gained about 1,435 pounds. That’s almost six baby elephants. I discovered a theoretical — and sometimes actual — love of the outdoors.  I fell in love and out of love.  I made good decisions and bad decisions. I visited five continents, got held up at gunpoint on a bus, got stranded in front of a brothel on the Pan American Highway, tried online dating, quit online dating, valiantly embarked on hundreds of attempts at reinvention, brushed my teeth with Chinese water and lived with parasites for a year and watched more Netflix than any one human should watch in a life time. It’s been the best of times and the worst of times. And here I am today, with less than three hours left before I plunge into my last year as a young young adult.

Today as I was sitting in front of my computer at work it occurred to me that there are only 11 years left between me and 40. Eleven years ago I was 18, starting my senior year of high school. That doesn’t seem so far away at all, and in many ways, despite all the adventures and experiences, I still feel very much like that 18 year-old girl. So I’ve been thinking about some of the things I’d like to accomplish this year. And although I have plenty of lofty, romantic, idealistic and probably unrealistic dreams for myself there is one goal that reigns supreme, one unrealized dream that shines brighter than the rest:

I’ve decided that 29 is the year I formally and definitively terminate my decade-long relationship with Sallie Mae, the most powerful and most evil of forces in the college loan world. This clingy, annoyingly persistent jerk of a loan has been haunting me for ten years; I pay and pay and it barely budges downward. So this year I will pay off my Sallie Mae loan, even if it means I have to take on a part-time job. Sallie Mae will haunt me no longer.

So farewell 28 and Sallie Mae. Hello 29, financial freedom and new experiences. I feel like this is going to be a good year.

A beautiful sunset on the eve of my 29th birthday. A coincidence? I think not.

Categories: Me, Me, Me

14 replies

  1. Very happy this ended on a good note! Can’t wait what our last year of our twenties has in store!

    Love you, my little bojangles!

  2. Yesss, get rid of that debt! You go, Ji. I hope your birthday is happy, and I hope your next year is a real thrill. Love you, mofo.

  3. Hey. you’ve done a lot more than I have, and I’m fifty-(last part unintelligible).

  4. GO YOU! Happy Birthday and good riddance debt! ❤

  5. financial freedom is a beautiful thing, good luck! lets give our last year of twenty everything we´ve got!

  6. You should celebrate! Tomorrow is NOT guaranteed. Some people don’t live as long as you.

  7. Here’s to a fabulous 29th year! Thanks for sharing your travels and including my blog in them!

  8. Accck, as Bill the Cat would say when coughing up a hairball, 29 is so long ago I can’t count that high. Anyway, Happy Birthday, pay off the loan, and wave a joyful finger at Sallie Mae and all of her cousins. –Curt

  9. Jisel, I loved this! Happy belated birthday 🙂

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