Are you between the ages of 27 and 29 and questioning every single facet of your life? Are you struggling to fall asleep at night because your stomach is sick, sick, sick with relentless anxiety that the person you're with might not be "the one" after all? Do you feel like you're battling through a dangerous thunderstorm despite how desperately you fight to feel the sweet rays of sunshine on your skin?
Do you feel like you're losing your f*cking mind?
Well, my darlings, don't fret. You're not alone. I'm right there with you. And guess what? I've finally figured out why we're feeling this sudden loss of stability.
We are in the haphazard throes of our Saturn return, kittens.
What the f*ck am I talking about?
According to Astrology.com, here's what Saturn return is:
"[It's] when the planet Saturn comes back to meet your natal Saturn. It takes about 29.5 years for this slow-mover to return to where it was when you were born. The Saturn return hits in the late 20s, and its impact is felt into the early 30s. There's a second (and possibly a third for the long-lived among us) Saturn return that hits between ages 57-60."
So this means we experience a Saturn return approximately every 30 years.
That's why we feel this inexplicable shift in energy in our late 20s. Sh*t just gets real. It's the time in our lives when we question everything.
According to Astrology.com, at age 30 "Vincent Van Gogh became a painter instead of a minister." If that doesn't describe the Saturn return in a nutshell, I don't know what does. The Saturn return also forces us to face our fears and confront who we truly are.
I'm going to break it all down for you by age group. Starting with...
The teen years
The teen years are a notoriously messy time in our lives. God, I can so vividly remember how it felt to be 16. I close my eyes and I'm back on my parent's wicker porch. It's 2 am and I'm gazing out into the starry Connecticut sky, cigarette pressed between my chapped lips, thinking, "Someday I'm going to get out of this sh*t town and do something amazing."
Being a teen can be sad and scary and dark. But there's this mystical light peeking out at the very end of the tunnel. The end of the tunnel is, well, the end of high school.
Then comes the early 20s. And into the "light" we go.
The early 20s
Oh, the early 20s! The light is so bright it blows out the flaws. You're still a mess, but you're a beautiful mess. This is the era of royal f*ck-ups with no consequence, because you're far too pretty for punishment. This is the era of shamelessly kissing strangers at dive bars and not giving a sh*t. This is the era of paying the rent late.
This is when you're free from the wicked tethers of adolescence and now you just wanna dance, babe. You're living in a grown-up world but don't know how to be a grown-up, but that's OK, because you have so much TIME, right?
There isn't massive pressure to have garnered major career success yet, so you're free to just throw sh*t up against the wall and see what sticks. You're just trying it all on for size.
The late 20s
You reach your late 20s and suddenly you feel like you're in adolescence all over again, but this time you've got bills to pay. And it sucks, and it drowns out any slight glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.
My late 20s (specifically 27 to 29) have been nothing short of harrowing, confusing and anxiety-inducing. I feel like for the past two years I've been running on a treadmill. I'm exerting myself, huffing and puffing, trying so hard to get to where I need to go ... but getting absolutely nowhere.
All of this unexpected change happened. I broke up with my girlfriend. I began to question if my lifelong dream of being an actress really was the right choice for me. I'd spent a decade investing my energy into this career that I wanted so badly I could taste it on my tongue. But all of a sudden, I started to wonder:
Do I REALLY want a life of endless rejection? Do I REALLY want to spend the rest of my life reciting words that aren't my own, especially when I think I might have something of my own to say? Do I REALLY want to arrive at auditions dressed as a "blank palette" when I have this relentless urge to express my personal style?
I let go of my dream of being a professional actress and decided I wanted to try writing instead.
It was gut-wrenching and torturous saying goodbye to my lifelong dream. It felt like cutting off a limb. But I knew somewhere, in the bottom of my gut, that this was something I needed to try. I can't explain it. My life just flipped. Everything I had known to be true was suddenly brought into question.
One day, when I was feeling particularly lost, I decided to call my best friend Owen. We had fallen out of touch, both too entangled in the wicked thorns of heartbreak and depression to keep in contact. But for some reason, I knew I had to call him.
I told him what I was going through. He told me what he was going through. We're the same exact age, and our feelings were in complete parallel.
And this is how I learned about the Saturn return. (I always circle back.)
Experts refer to the Saturn return as a "wake-up call," and damn, have the last two years been a f*cking wake-up call. It's like all the superficial sh*t I relied on in my early 20s -- incessant partying, steamy sex, charm and a crew of charismatic friends -- were no longer enough to keep me afloat.
I realized that the life I had built wasn't sustainable in the long term. I was living on a fragile foundation, and if I didn't break it apart and build a stable, solid floor from the ground up, I would fall through the cracks.
For example: All the trauma I'd experienced in the past had been pretty easy to sweep under the rug most of my life. I smiled and stuffed it down until I hit 27. And then, overnight, all of my triggers became impossible to ignore. I had panic attacks and flashbacks so severe I had no choice but to go to therapy and confront the monsters.
But you know what? As tough as these past few years have been, I feel nothing but gratitude for the Saturn return. Confronting the demons of the past -- as hard and as painful as it was -- is finally allowing me to move forward, into a life free of the scary monsters. There is a lightness in my energy that wasn't there before.
Even though my Saturn return isn't entirely over and I haven't answered all the big, looming questions, at least now I can identify this hardship for what it is: my first big life transition.
So what have I taken away from all of this? What advice would I give to others in the thick of the struggle? It's simple: Don't fight it. Explore it. The key to surviving the Saturn return is to not resist it but to listen closely to it.
Now is the time to ask yourself the hard questions: Is this the person I want to be with forever? Am I satisfied in my career? Where do I want to live, and what kind of person do I want to be? The universe isn't using its indoor voice right now. No, it's speaking to you loud and clear.
Transitions are always tough. But they're the gateway to getting us to the place that we really want to be.
My mentor laid it out for me so beautifully one day, when I was really feeling low and sad. She told me to imagine that I'm on one side of lake. And the side I'm on is dark and lonely and ugly. But if I look across the lake, there is a whole different world. And it's beautiful and safe and happy and a place I want to live in.
But the only way to get there is to swim across.
It's not a tranquil, still lake. It's a muddy, cold, seemingly endless lake. It'll take time to get there and it won't be easy. But the only way to get there is keep on swimming.
So baby, as tough as it is, just remember to keep f*cking swimming. You will get there. Eventually. I promise.