It’s the eve of my 26th birthday and it is by far the least excited I have been yet to turn another year older. This year is a big one for me. 25 seemed like a milestone, and passing the quarter-century point is something of a feat in adulting. This is the birthday the government gives us newly turned 26-year-olds the stiff-armed pushed into adulthood. This is the year they say “hopefully you have your shit together, we know your joints are starting to hurt more than they did in your early 20’s, your hangovers only seem to be getting worse, and gray is now part of the color spectrum on your head, but even so, you can’t mooch off your parents forever, get your own fucking health insurance.”
There are only a few circumstances that newly turned 26-year-olds find themselves in. They will breathe a sigh of relief, wake up, and roll out of bed to the job that is providing them with a health plan. Or, they will reach a little further into their pockets to pay for their own insurance. Or, they will risk it and go without. Those scenarios have been sitting on my shoulder this whole past year whispering their sweet anxieties into my ears.
The last week has felt heavy. The last month felt heavy. Hell, 25 has been a heavy year for me.
Minutes before it turned 12 am, marking my birthday—yes I paid attention— I’m trying to remember some of my recent past birthdays. Some I could remember easily, some were a bit foggy as to how I spent my day. I thought that was odd, not remembering. But, I do know that each one of them I had some type of plan that included celebrations, usually which involved drinking adult beverages and inviting friends to spend the day with me. This year is by far the tamest, and I am so ok with that.
So, it’s 12:07 am, newly 26, and I’m flossing my teeth. Just 10 minutes earlier I was looking into the dance moves in Fortnite with my little brother.
Life as of recently has been felt nothing short of a rollercoaster ride. Specifically, the kind that takes you up and down and turns you upside down to the point where if the seatbelts malfunctioned you’d definitely find yourself catapulted out of your seat. Even so, grateful is what I feel, and there has been a growth within me that I am proud of.
As daunting as 26 has been, I do feel a lightness that is unexpected and welcoming. 25 was challenging and this next year maybe even more so, but it provides some changes that I have been desperately grasping for. I’m not sure how long this lightness will last for, I’m only one hour into being 26, but I’m going to fly with it as long as the magic carpet will let me.
I don’t want to say that I’m ditching all that has been, but, really, yeah, I kinda am.