When I turned 26, I realized that I was entering the no man’s land that would become the rest of my twenties. Ok to be honest, at the exact moment I turned 26 I was standing on the second level of an Atlanta club, feeling very confused about how much it looked like Libation while repeatedly saying, “This club is in a strip mall?” So maybe I didn’t realize it that second, but sometime over the next week the feeling sunk in that 26 is one of those throw away years.
College was so long ago that when I pass college campuses I find myself lamenting my lost youth (it’s too soon, I know) and thinking about ‘kids these days’ and how good they have it with their tablets and that cruise ship version of study abroad. True adult life feels ever-so-slightly out of my reach too… It’s not like I’m saving money or going on vacations that don’t involve my parents buying my plane tickets and I’m certainly not getting married and popping out babies anytime soon. It feels like if Life and I could sit down and have a conversation, it would involve Life not letting me get in a word edgewise because it’s too busy yelling, “Hey, you! Welcome to your late twenties. You can rent a car, drink, and see R-rated movies just like when you were 25. Do you know what you have to look forward to? Oh you do? Stuff like a family, marriage, a paycheck that covers more than your rent and 1/25th of your metrocard… Yeah that’s coming your way, but guess what, mo’fucka? You’re not getting shit until you are AT LEAST 30 years old. You gotta have a couple wrinkles before you get that. Enjoy the soul-crushing levels of anxiety you’re about to experience even though this is the least responsibility you’re going to have for the rest of your life.”
In the past year I’ve felt more anxious, confused and filled with self-doubt than ever before. It’s really for no reason that I can pin down, and rationally speaking it’s pretty idiotic because everything is going ok. I try to quell the fear that my world is about to come crashing down at any second. I’ve taken up Yoga (both Bikram and the one that involves me falling a lot), I keep track of my dreams and use google to analyze what they’re telling me, and I even find myself repeating my own mantras like, “This is not your reality,” and, “Be the person you look up to.” 21-year-old me would hate me right now.
I sometimes wonder if it has to do with the fact that when I was a little kid, I had one vision for my life: I wanted to be 26, to have a job as a journalist in a big city, and to live in a tiny, kitschy apartment by myself with a bunch of guinea pigs. So, in counting the things I wanted as a six-year-old, as long as we cut out ‘journalist,’ ‘kitschy,’ and ‘alone,’ I’ve actually achieved my one life goal. Mission accomplished… What the fuck is next?
Today I turn 27, and it’s sort of like I’ve reached the first day of the rest of my life.
In the spirit of embracing, enjoying and not hating myself for every second of my late twenties, I’ve created a list of things I accomplished at 26 in almost chronological order. 27, if you can be half as a good (and involve fewer hangovers) as 26, I will be proud of you:
At 26… I:
- Attempted to order one of everything on the Waffle House menu. I don’t how far I got down the menu before I was stopped, but I know I was given biscuits.
- Migrated this blog to a WordPress and started blogging a lot more. Yay blog!
- Learned that dreams about pissing yourself are a symbol for feelings of inadequacy. They can also mean you have to pee.
- Santacon. That happened.
- Ate Christmas dinner with hickeys on my neck. I THINK I managed to hide them from my family members (at least until they read this). Who gives someone a hickey after high school?
- Finally stopped taking cabs everywhere. My bank account has not benefited. At all. WTF?
- Did not cry while listening to Ke$ha… It’s harder than it sounds.
- Was vegan for at least 4 days. #spicyspecialfail
- Ate only meat for at least 3 days. #calzonefail
- Went to the emergency room and the only retain blurry memories of being discharged by a very sweet and flamboyantly gay male nurse.
- Went on a date with someone off craiglist and DIDN’T GET MURDERED.
- Quit my first real job.
- Learned that dreams about the apocalypse symbolize fear over a huge change in your life.
- Went to a “spiritual-themed” Mexican wedding in Mexico City, added to my list of awesome weddings attended.
- Experienced my second summer in NYC, actually did things people do in NYC during the summer. New York in the summer is fun!
- Got better at expressing my emotions.
- Expressed wayyyy too many of my emotions – my boyfriend has several videos of my drunk crying that I should probably post on FB.
- Got doored by a cab, joined the ranks of hipster bikers everywhere.
- Learned that dreams about being barefoot in a public place mean you need to take life less seriously.
- Went to my first bachelorette party.
- Threw up in three airports AND one airplane bathroom on my way back from my first bachelorette party.
- Survived Hurricane Sandy!
And then of course there’s all the mushy stuff – boyfriend, friends, family, love, growth, memories, the meaning of life, blablabla. All that stuff is the best.
Happy birthday to me, Happy Holidays to all. Thank you so much for reading and participating in my life and giving me a few less reasons to be anxious along the way.
Peace, love and hopefully someone will gift me some xanax soon,