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This year, I will be 27 years old. Thinking about turning 27 feels…younger, somehow, than aging has felt up until now. Twenty-seven follows many years of firsts: with 26 arrived my first apartment, with 25 arrived my first car purchase, with 24 arrived my first trip across an ocean. With 23 arrived the first time I ever really and truly stood up for myself.

The firsts have been exhausting; perhaps that’s why turning 27 doesn’t really feel like a year older. Or perhaps I am finally tasting that which I’ve heard all this time: “I don’t feel [insert age here]. I feel like I always did.” As proud as I am of having done so much—as privileged as I have been in certain scenarios to do so much—I crave the mundane even as I find myself finally settling into it. I just graduated with my Master’s degree in music technology (as in, days ago!), and I crave the feeling of no longer reaching for a goal that has been on my heart and mind for nearly ten years—to just wake up, go to a job, and that’s it. The exhaustion I feel sitting deep, so deep I almost don’t understand the feeling itself, leads me to thinking about what Jesus might have felt. Years spent advocating and teaching and convincing and leading. To be betrayed. And when that betrayal finally laid to rest, I just wonder what Jesus’s rest in death truly must have been like. And I don’t wonder in a way that glorifies Jesus’s death or implies that this is something that I am searching for. Rather, I wonder in a way that adds weight to Jesus’s life—his human life. There were feelings, frustrations, hopes and joys and really hard work. All of this! And Jesus faced resurrection for us still.

Jesus’s resurrection amidst the disbelief allows me to view my weariness of firsts as a journey just like his was, to see my own endeavors as me. In one way, I yearn for rest after running endlessly through growth, and I realize that in another way, I yearn for myself. Amidst this deep desire for a decidedly uninteresting period, I find that maybe, I love and admire myself. I like how Nia is settling into Nia.

With 27, I am realizing that Nia as Nia is beloved.

— Nia McKenney

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