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27 Forever

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“It is sobering to consider that when Mozart was my age he had already been dead for a year.” -Tom Lehrer

Robert Johnson, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, and Amy Winehouse. These are some of the more obvious names to be included in a rather unfortunate group, the Forever 27 Club: musicians who passed before their 28th birthday. I, myself, turned 28 this past September, a day before Winehouse would have done the same. On one hand this alone is cause to celebrate — my survival, not her death — but on the other is the glaringly obvious issue that simply surviving the year doesn’t necessarily mean that much was achieved. This is especially true when comparing my feats to any number of other people’s rather fantastic accomplishments. And yeah, it’s pretty easy to get caught up in playing this game of inferiority, but when I find myself doing that I take solace in some words I heard long ago from Henry Rollins. To paraphrase: you can only compare yourself to yourself. As long as you’re better than you were a year ago, a month ago, a week ago, or even a day ago, you’re on the right track.