Twenty Seven


I’m 27 today! I’m not a birthday person; I say it every year, and it honestly hasn’t changed. I do like to do a little reflection though, on the year past and the year to come.

26 was not my easiest year. It was one of the harder ones. Not for anything super major or devastating, but in the everyday of it, it got kind of rough. Just like how 23 felt like a significant changing year for me, 26 also made me do a lot of thinking. I was talking with a friend, who’s just a bit older, and she completely agreed. 26, for us, was about figuring out what’s important.

I think this is the first year where I truly understood both how fragile life is, how decisions you make shape the future, and the importance your values are. I spent the past year in the trenches a bit trying to figure out what all that means for me.

This spring, I had one of the scariest health issues of my life. Thankfully, it turned out that nothing was seriously wrong besides a horrendous (and expensive) night in the emergency room. It was nothing more than a perfect storm of problems: stress mainly, not drinking enough water or eating enough food for a few days, and seriously slacking on my sleep. It didn’t feel like that monumental of a week– I’ve had worse ones for sure– but it was crazy how my body basically said, “Okay, this is ENOUGH.” It was the first time where I felt like (realized?) my body had actual limits and that taking care of it properly every day was a non-negotiable.

I also firmly believe that you can recover from just about every decision, even the worst ones and that you can make the most of any situation. But, at 26, I’ve been able to see how every decision I’ve made adds up to where I today. (For better or for worse.) Things are starting to feel real. Honestly, it excites me more than anything else, but it’s definitely at the very least a little daunting. Life is here! As they like to say, life is not a dress rehearsal. I love the life I’ve built and chosen and continue to fight for.

… and this leads me to values. This year, I’ve been defining what my values actually are. I know I’ve always had “values,” but now I’m figuring out what is really important to me. As I move into the last few years of my twenties, I want to build the best possible foundation for my life. And I want to enjoy it and feel proud of it at the same time.

I’m ending this post with one of my favorite quotations, and one that I will be for sure relying on as I march through my 27th year:

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined.” – Henry David Thoreau

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I am turning 30 this year (definitely far from college, still love your blog ☺️) and completely read this while nodding my head at every thing. 26 was the toughest year for me too. Nothing terrible happened but it was exactly like you said. Going into 30 is so exciting for me because the roots that grew at 26 are now something I’m so proud of and I absolutely adore the life I’ve made!

All that to say, I feel ya! And happy, happy birthday!!


Beautiful post with very deep insights. Definitely adding that quote into my board. Love it!

PS- totally doesn’t surprise me that you are a Virgo! ?


Happy birthday! Here’s my favorite quote, “if you dont know where you’re going, any road will lead you there” ~ Lewis Carroll. I luv bdays

Miranda | Miranda's Notebook

Happy Birthday Carly! Thank you for the wonderful, inspirational blog posts you so regularly provide. I loved reading this latest post too. For me, 29 has been a year involving a lot of change and self-reflection & as I’m turning 30 in just over a month, I’ve been spending some time thinking about what I’d like this decade to mean to me. I love the quote you provided at the end. Best of luck for enjoying these last few years of your 20s – I’ve loved the latter years of mine, so you’ve got a lot of joy ahead, I’m sure 🙂 xxx

Julia Oman

Happy birthday, Carly!

I turn 26 a week from today and there are already of list of life decisions that I have to make this fall! Sounds like 26 is going to be long, but one for the books 😉


Wow, for some reason I’ve always felt that you were younger! I guess because “College” is in the title of your blog name, I thought you were maybe closer to a college age. At 23, I can say that this year has been the hardest year for me in terms of accepting that decisions I’m making now could very well effect the rest of my life. It’s pretty damn terrifying! Happy birthday and may this year be one of clarity and peace for you!

Danielle @ afloat on a full sea


Happy Birthday, Carly. I really enjoy Reading your blogposts. I Love your honesty. I Hope you have a Great day and I wish you a wonderful new year!

Kelly in the City

Happy birthday, Carly!! I hope you have a great one with the little fam. Also — It only keeps getting better and better. Enjoy 27! I remember it being easier and even more exciting than 26. 😉


Kelly | Kelly in the City

Kayla Pelletier

Happiest birthday Carly! Keep shining and being the fantastic role model that you are!!! Enjoy your special day!!


Happy happy birthday! I am considerably older than you are, and looking back at my life, I think 27 is a turning point year for a lot of people — it certainly was for me — and in a good way. It’s scary because it’s often when you realize that, well, this is it — and you’re actually a proper adult, for real, no way around it — but that’s very empowering, too. The next five years will probably be full of change (and I personally hate change, so I know that can be scary) but also really, really good times. You have so much wonderful stuff ahead of you!


Second: this was my 29 but otherwise I am totally on board with you in every way. We all have to have that year though, I think it is called growing up.


I recently turned 23! I’m not a huge birthday person either, but it was my “golden birthday” so we wanted to ring it in. Enjoy 27, and take care of yourself. Life is busy. Keep your values close and make your dreams come true
Amy| Southern Girls In The Smokies


Happy Birthday, and this was a great read! Birthdays always make a little reflective as well, despite the fact that (at 32) I try to avoid recognizing them anymore. My 26th year was also a huge growth year. You figure it out though. You start to put all the pieces together, and feel like you’ve finally earned it. You built this life, and it’s all yours. I hope your 27th year brings tons of happy moments and proud accomplishments!

Aimee |


Happy Birthday Carly! As I’m writing this, you have exactly 27 comments, so I almost didn’t want to comment lol. I hope you had fun with your mom – the video you posted with her was great!


Happy birthday, Carly! I’ve been (secretly) following your blog for the past 4-5yrs (when I was a senior in college) and I’ve seen you and your blog grow so much. Take good care of yourself!


Happy, happy, happiest birthday Carly! I remember 26 being a challenging year as I was trying to figure out where my career would go. 27 was much better! Although I’m considerably older than you your blog is my very favorite (and I read a lot of them!) and you inspire me on a daily basis. Thank you for sharing your life with us. Best wishes for a spectacular 27!


Happy (belated) birthday Carly! Reading this post, I feel like I could have written a lot of it myself! 26 was by far my hardest year, and everything you say about taking care of yourself and figuring out how important your values are rings true. I can tell you that 27 has been much better! And I’m getting an opportunity to put those values to the test (in a good way). Good luck this year! 🙂