I always feel like writing something on the eve of a birthday. I want to take stock, I guess, of what I have, where I am. Also, of where my sister is, where we are. Twins, ya know?
I am one of a million blogs in the dark hole that is the internet, which is what has kept me from writing lately. I write, everyday, of course, for my job. But not about myself. That has taught me a lot but mainly, it has humbled me. I’m a tiny, tiny part in this big old world. My thoughts feel a lot less important. And that’s OK.
So, here I am feeling a little unimportant (in the universe — I know I am very important to a select few humans and, for sure, to my dog). I will be 26 tomorrow. I feel young. I used to feel older with every year, but perhaps I’m just Benjamin Button-ing my way through life. I feel more comfortable in my skin than I did a year ago, and a hell of a lot more comfortable than I felt a decade ago, at sweet 16. Youth isn’t wasted on the young, it’s tried out on them. It puts them through the wringer, only to emerge, (sometimes), as adults, better for wear.
I’ve moved in with my boyfriend. That’s new. That’s very … 26. I take my work home with me … sometimes. 26? Sure. I haven’t had to ask my parents for money in, I think, six months. They still give me some.
When I first started dating my boyfriend I was griping about something, being broke, forgetting to do laundry, etc. I said, “Gosh, I’m not an adult. We aren’t adults!” He smiled and cocked his head. “No, I am. I am an adult.”
Which must mean that I am too.
26 means I no longer live with my sister, for the first time in our lives. (I work with her, though. This is important and maybe even necessary). 26 is balance. But it’s always been balance. Booze to food, exercise to sleep, booze to exercise, booze to work. You get the idea. 26 is taking more deep breaths than usual and not taking your shit day out on the ones you love.
I thought, this morning, my last day of 25, how very lucky I am. I’d just picked up media passes for an arts festival in town. I’d made it to yoga this morning and had a dripping iced coffee in my hand. I was headed to work, where I’d be busy all day, dripping, again, my lunch all over my keyboard, the articles I’m editing. At one point my sister would sit across from me, in our building’s foyer, both of us cross-legged and knocking out arts previews. She’d smile gingerly, knowing I was struggling with mine. This small gesture would help me finish it.
I sit here now, two dogs at my feet, a seemingly endless supply of boxed wine at my disposal.
26, it turns out, is not grad school. It is not traveling the world and it is not moving closer to home (yet). It is not marriage and kids. It’s also not online dating and lonely nights. It’s this. Stress headaches and the occasional noodle bowl but mainly salads if I can help it and sour beers and pink wigs and dog walks and beach picnics (sandy, windy, but goddamnit if I don’t get an Instagram every time) and sleeping in and going to bed early and making two lunches every night and laughing every single day with my best friend, coworker, and sister. You know, the gal who also turns 26 tomorrow.
So, yeah, my words aren’t that important. But they matter to me. They are me taking notes and trying my damnedest not to keep score. No one is winning or losing in this stretch — maybe in five, ten years we will feel losses more acutely. We will gain more, too, I imagine. But, right now, I am 26 tomorrow. So is my favorite person. And she is very important to me. These words are for her.