Even if you don't believe in astrology, I think we can all agree that entering our late 20s (and, for that matter, turning 30) looms large in our collective imagination. According to sitcoms and mainstream societal expectations, this is the time in our lives when we're supposed to stop "adulting" and start being plain old adults. The astrological significance of these ages is actually pretty similar, albeit in very different terms.
Between your 27th and 30th birthday, Saturn completes its orbit around the sun and returns to the exact point it was when you were born. In a highly creative turn of events, this astrological occurrence is known as your Saturn return. (If you haven't hit your late 20s yet, this site will calculate your Saturn return for you.)
Because Saturn is associated with discipline, hard work, and sacrifice, its return is sort of like the moment when a stern schoolteacher walks back into a chaotic classroom — if that moment lasted roughly three years. This planet is here to whip you into shape, throwing career challenges, relationship upheavals, and other structural changes in your path. And yes, you'll feel its effects for years. Anything that has to do with your long-term success and longevity is fair game to Saturn — from your natal placement, it will call upon you to reevaluate the systems that govern your life in order to either improve upon them or shed them and start from scratch.
As you might have guessed, Saturn returns can be difficult (and, since they occur with Saturn's orbit, you can look forward to another one around your 60th birthday, too). But, they aren't without their benefits. A breakup might lead to you finding yourself. A layoff might prompt a career path epiphany. Whatever the silver lining is, just know that it will exist. Saturn is a tough teacher, but it won't leave you completely high and dry.
To get a better idea of what Saturn returns really look like (and how much they differ from person to person), we looked to the astro community on Reddit and asked R29 readers to share their stories.