I turned 26 today. I feel like I should be writing a meaningful piece on the passage of time and growing older. What does it mean to be moving into my late 20’s? How have I changed as I’ve grown? What have I learned? I even briefly thought of creating a list–26 things I’ve learned on my 26th birthday…on the 26th…
But, I’m just too hyper right now. Too much cake. I had a wonderful day.
In the past, my adult birthdays have been bittersweet.
When I was younger, my mom went out of her way to make my birthday special. I still remember entering the living room and seeing the fireplace ledge filled with presents and cards. It made the whole day wonderful, waiting and twitching with anticipation to tear open the packages and see my presents. I still love getting presents to this day.
As I grew older, my birthday became the day where I was reminded of all that I lacked. For many years, I cried on my birthday. Birthdays reminded me that I hadn’t formed the friendships I wanted, that I wasn’t as loved as I wished to be. I would dread my birthday, and the feelings of failure that accompanied it.
But in the past weeks, something changed in me. Perhaps it’s because I’m on a new medication that has helped me feel much more hopeful, or perhaps its because my husband, close friends, and parents have been so especially supportive and loving over the past year, but I just feel good right now.
I don’t feel like I lack in any way. And that leaves me open to experiencing happiness and accepting love, even on my birthday, that dreaded day where my expectations have never been met.
So, although I celebrated my birthday in small ways ( I took the day off work, got myself a mani/pedi, and celebrated with a really cute cake, courtesy of my husband), I still felt like my birthday was meaningful and special. And I felt incredibly loved.
As my birthday draws to a close, I am overwhelmed by feelings of gratefulness. Yes, I’m still not exactly where I want to be right now, and I didn’t accomplish as much over the past year as I would have liked, but I feel hopeful for the future. I feel like nothing can hold me back.
I’m excited to be 26. I feel like I’m finally out of being an angst-y teens and experimental 20s and I can just settle down to the business of creating my life.