Thoughts on turning 26

It has been exactly a month since my birthday, a month since I "crossed over" being the "golden age of becoming" (obviously that means being 25) to that murky area of whatever is beyond that milestone.

26 and the great beyond.

Okay, so I am writing this with irony. I am fine with being 26. So far, it has been as great as being 25. Yet, whenever I happen to tell someone I am 26, I have these moments when I stop and think, "did that just come out of my mouth?" 26. How did that happen?

I really wish I still had copies of the essays we had to write back in 3rd or 4th grade, often titled "Where I'll be in 10 years," or something equivalent to that. In my essay, I always was married with several children (all of whom I named), tons of dogs and cats (all of whom I also named in this 5 paragraph exercise), some type of big house where I worked as a successful writer. Clearly, I did not know that ten years from 4th grade meant that I would 19 years old and in my sophomore year at college. All I knew that in 10 years I would be "old" and that was stuff grown ups had.

Thank God I did not have those things then, or even now.

I recently listened to an episode of This American Life that was all about people's "plan b" and how life doesn't always follow what we originally have planned. So we change our plans. From my 4th grade chair in Ms. Sugai's class, I am probably on Plan G by now, if I even have one that is.

All this to say, I am thankful to be where I am now. No one told me that the early 20s can be a real suck-fest. I am very aware that I am out of that and even when sucky things arise, I feel as if I am better equipped to deal with them. I am more sure of who I am. Sure, I haven't gotten everything figured out but who has. All I know is that I've come along way from my 22 year old self and  I am glad of all the things I've experienced along the way, (which is easier to say in retrospect).

It's taken me so long to get around to blogging about turning 26. In some ways, I feel as if I needed to make a list similar to the one I did last year when I turned 25. But really, I had a hard time coming with them. Sure, I thought of a few (okay actually only one and that was to take more pictures of people instead of just inanimate objects) but one of the main reasons for the 25th year of life list was because I was very discontent with about every aspect of my life back then and new that I wanted things to be drastically different. I think that in my brain this meant that I would probably be out of Kansas (or at least heading in that direction) by time my next birthday rolls around. Who would've guessed that life could change so much for the better just by staying in one place.

I am placing no big "to-do list" on the year of 26. Sure, I have no idea where I will be this time next year, but I am finally okay with that. Things will work out. I don't feel as if I need to usher in anything.

In some ways, I feel as if it is amazing that I can now actually write that down: Things will work out. On June 14th of this year (my actual birthday), I had just finished writing my "year in review" blog post when I got online to check my email. One of things I had included on my 25th list was something about developing my writing. In the blog post, I mentioned being content with what I was doing. True, it was not much but it was at least something. That afternoon when I checked my email, I got an email from the editor of Timbrel that there were getting rid of my column with the new formate for the periodical.

Gut punch.

Now I am really not doing any writing.

I can often get discouraged about not writing. Even my 4th grade self was convinced that I was going to write books when I was an adult. There were a lot of dark moments when I felt so defeated about this. I could not bring myself to finish anything. No agents wanted to see my stuff. I wrote for the pure sake of needing to write because if I didn't use my creative writing major to write then what was even the point? Existence questions, etc.

I still have those moments but I feel more at peace about it. I do not feel creative right now and so I am fine that I am not pushing out novellas. (Right now, they'd probably be terrible). I haven't given up. I feel as if I am waiting for the right idea. I hope this is true. I pray that it is. If not, I guess it will be on to the next plan.

But for now, I will enjoy being 26. I am sure it will be full of its own challenges, but nevertheless, I still expect good things from it.

Cheers to you, 26. Let's do this thing.