Reflections on turning 27 during quarantine

I’ve written before about my feelings about my birthday where I always get really anxious leading up to it, then sad, then happy and then sad again. This year was no different and almost felt worst because this past year was a shit show – I graduated, was/am very burnt out, scrambled to find jobs, my mental health took a toll and on top of this, I’m trying to navigate a pandemic. I was also anxious because I’m entering my ~late twenties~. Sometimes I fall into the pit of “OMG, I’m 27 and I don’t have a stable career!!!” Or that I feel like I’m going backwards in life when I see what other people my age are doing.

But then I remind myself that comparison isn’t a fun game and that there’s a lot that’s out of my control and just embrace whatever is going on. Right now, I’m really leaning into this freelance life that I’m currently in which fortunately, gives me some time and room to step into different roles and see what works. It’s such a strange time where I don’t really know exactly what I’m doing but at the moment, I’m surprisingly okay with it and feel very hopeful that things will work out. (this feeling of hope doesn’t stay for too long but right now it’s here so I’m going with it).

Throughout my video, I do share about my difficulties of wanting to indulge and celebrate myself when I felt like I haven’t really done anything worth celebrating. This is totally false by the way, because I *have* done enough and I *am* enough but sometimes I get too caught up to realize and remember that. I realized I was looking for and looking to the wrong reasons to feel special or to celebrate when it’s really up to myself to do things that make me feel special and good (whatever that is).

I also shared briefly that I wrote a letter to my 17 year old self as well as a letter to my future 37 year old self. In writing a letter to past Julia, there were so many things/ milestones/ moments of growth that I had totally forgotten about. For instance, for my senior art show I was creating art about navigating my Asian identity which at the time, I didn’t quite have the tools or resources to fully understand what I was feeling or doing. I realized that was just the very beginning of what’s pivotal to everything I do now and I wouldn’t explore that topic again in my art practice until many years later!

When I think about younger Julia, she had always day dreamed of travelling, falling in love, living on her own etc. and I bet she wouldn’t even believe some of things that I’ve done or experienced! She probably thought that’d be impossible! She had no idea where life would take her and I like to think she would have been really excited and happy for me.

It was nice to tap back into the mindset of 17 year old Julia to day dream again when I recorded my letter to my future self. Some of the hopes are really out there but I said them anyways! Honestly, who knows where the next 10 years will take me!

I really recommend that you write a letter to your past and future self. If you’re like me, I’m not the greatest at celebrating the big and small wins. Often it feels like, “okay check, let’s move on to the next thing” without really giving myself the time to process whatever it was that I just did. So that’s definitely one of my intentions- celebrating those wins, surrendering to slowing things down, trusting the process and placing up personal boundaries.

I’m sure it’ll be challenging but I have to remind myself that it’s a practice and process.

Thanks for reading and watching,


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