So 28 is definitely older. 26, 27 didn’t feel older. 25 did a little but just because I was pregnant, and blowing out the candles with a baby in your belly is just a different type of thing I guess.

28 is older. I’m older. And it’s not just because this birthday I’m a mother of two. It all has to do with everything that’s happened the last few years. I’ve written plenty about it, but 2016 did nothing but slam my fingers in the door over and over again. Sometimes it was my fault, and sometimes it wasn’t. Sometimes I learned from it, sometimes I didn’t. But by my birthday last year I was finally realizing it. 27 was a time for pulling my head out of the sand.

Once out of the sand I could see, smell, hear, feel, taste, breathe. And wow has it just been somethin’ else. I have been trying to find words to describe it. I can’t come up with just one, but I have come up with 28.

  1. Secure
  2. Grateful
  3. Popcorn
  4. New
  5. Fragile
  6. Learning
  7. Help
  8. Siblings
  9. Smiles
  10. Rest
  11. Romance
  12. Lists
  13. Clean
  14. Work
  15. Full
  16. Home
  17. Try
  18. Slow
  19. Fast
  20. Close
  21. Patience
  22. Goals
  23. Soda
  24. Strong
  25. Love
  26. Build
  27. Save
  28. Happy

About a year ago I wrote this post about Molting. At the time I was just feeling so soft and vulnerable and scared and embarrassed and uncomfortable. When I rediscovered it in my Timehop this month I read it and just cried tears of gratitude. Gratitude that I leaned into that mountain of experiences. Gratitude that I survived. Gratitude that I came out better. Gratitude for 27 year old Danica, refusing to be crushed.

I seriously feel so good. And about half of me worries that I’m jinxing it by saying that. But it’s true. I feel so good. I am happy. I am safe. I am improving, slowly, but improving. I am proud of what I did in that year of 27. I am proud of who I am standing here in the beginning of 28, a blonde bottle of butterflies. I fought hard for each of those lessons, and now they are mine. I’m still a mess of imperfect things, but I have never felt more myself. I keep saying “28.” “I’ll be 28.” “I’m turning 28.” “I’m 28 tomorrow.” “Today I’m 28!” “28 is gonna be such a good year!” I just OWN 28 now. It’s weird.

I think it’s because so much else of my identity finally feels clear and secure and safe and familiar. 28 is just part of it. I’m 28! I’m a mother of two! I’m happily married! I’m a writer! I have two amazing best friends! I have a wide circle of rad friends! I have great family and in-laws! People care about me! I have a lot of sh*t to work on! I have made covenants with God and I’m stickin to ’em! I like to read! I love trashy pop music! All I ever want is movie popcorn!!!!!

In the next month or so I have a long list of things I’m really excited to share with you guys. I’m excited about everything right now. Because I just feel good. And you know what? I know 28 won’t be all perfect dream clouds and smooth sailing. And I’m still cool with it. I’m just so so happy to be here, with my people, in my body, surrounded by the life I have.

I’m Danica. I’m 28. And it feels 100 emoji.

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