Turning Twenty-Six

Monday, May 18, 2009

Each year, I await my birthday with eager anticipation. I count down the days. I remind everyone around me of how much longer it is until the day! I love it. I love the celebration, the presents and, of course, the cake. I love knowing that for a short while, it's my day. And while I am very much looking forward to my birthday tomorrow, I'm coming into it with an unfamiliar feeling.

Trepidation.

I know 26 isn't old, per se, (well, it depends upon who you ask I suppose), but for the first time, I really feel old. My childhood is truly gone. My adolescence has ended and what remains is adulthood. Burdens of responsibilities, lofty dreams of next week, year, decade and a wide open future. But for whatever the reason, I just feel as though I'm already so far into my life, but haven't done much with it at all.

In August, I'll start what will hopefully be my last formal schooling. I'll be 2 to 4 years older than most students, married and in an entirely different stage of life. The vast difference between being fresh out of college and 26 years old is noticeable, and I'm worried about my ability to fit in with the other students. What if I don't make friends? What if I'm too old? What if I've lost that sense of openness that children and teenagers possess that allow them to make new friends? What if I'm simply an old dog, and new friends are my new trick?

I feel like I've gone 26 years on this earth without accomplishing much. I've lived for over 2 and a half decades, but where's the proof? What have I left behind? If something happened to me today, would anyone remember me? What for?

I know this is getting a little morbid, and I think more than anything, I'm somehow wrapping my crappy day into this post that actually has nothing to do with it. But in the end, though I'm not feeling quite myself, I am feeling thankful for this day and for the next. For the 26 years I've had on this earth with my family and friends. And I hope to see so many more tomorrows. And eat so much more cake.

Ed. note: In the light of my actual birthday, I'm pretty much exactly as happy as I have been every other year, if not even a little more. This whine was apparently more the result of 5 hours of sleep and 5 DAYS with my in-laws. But I'm leaving it up anyway. For posterity or something.

10 comments:

the queen said...

Find the bar by campus with the expensive drinks, that's my advice. That's where the older students will be.

I've been meaning to ask, don't you have to start all over again with a different neurologist in the next city?

Sue G said...

Katie, I can only imagine the tons of people whom you have touched with your wit, your humor, your intelligence, your insight, your determination, your faith, your courage, your commitment, your support, your love, your caring, and your compassion. I know I have seen those characteristics many times over the past several years on both your CB site and this blog. So, the people who know you in person must see all those things and more.

I don't think life is made up of the big things we do in it, but of the little things we do every single day. Perhaps there will be people who only remember the huge challenges or the hurdles that have been conquered. But, I for one, like to file the little things...the smiles from strangers in an airport, the tears that spill when a moment is shared, the offers of help or a nice word, the comments that make me laugh out loud.

You are at a point in your life where God is still opening doors for you and your only responsibility is to walk through those doors of opportunity. More of your life is ahead of you rather than behind you. And reading your entries over time it has occurred to me often that nothing holds you back as you plow through those portals.

You accomplish more than you obviously know. In fact, from where I sit it appears that the only thing missing occasionally is time to breathe.

Inhale, Katie, and breathe in the fragrance that is your life.

Sue G said...

Oh, and silly me, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TOMORROW!!!!!!!

Anne T. said...

Katie, I can so identify with you. My 25th birthday was a nightmare. 'I have lived a quarter of a century and what have I done? By this time, Mozart had written symphonies, Victoria had been queen 7 years, Albert Schweitzer was in Africa, St. Therese of Lisieux was well on her way to heaven' etc. etc. And in my case, I wasn't even married; in fact, it was only a week after I had met the guy I'd end up spending my life with. So what did I do with all that energy? I quit my job, took my government retirement contributions, and went to Europe for 4 months. It was an amazing experience, and I wouldn't trade it, even though now I am much older than 25 and still have not written a symphony, been a queen, gone to Africa, or become a saint. Bloom where you're planted.

Mrs. Apron said...

I started grad school at the age of nearly 25, about to get married, feeling a bit out of touch with the newly graduated 22 year olds in my class. I did, however, meet a few really nice gals. I bonded with the older students (one of whom already had an MFA she discovered she could not use to make a living), and also with the younger ones. It turns out not to be such a big deal. I didn't go out with the other students after class, or hang out with them on the weekends. So I wasn't the social prima donna. My priorities (strange) were getting home to my husband and dog, and not losing myself to grad school. Having graduated last August, I think I kept to what was important. I am in touch with a half-dozen classmates (and about as many from undergrad -- such a social butterfly I am) from grad school, and it was all good. You'll be fine.

stacey said...

Happy Birthday!!! I hope it is a GREAT day today, because no one deserves it more (especially after the in-laws) I started feeling the same way when I turned 26 as well. It is a feeling that comes and goes. I am really really REALLY dreading the my bday in August, yet at the same time looking forward to the actual day. Not the year that is coming up. I had hoped to have so much more accomplished by the time I was 35, and by turning 34 in a few short months and knowing that I have a year to try to fulfill? scares the S**T out of me.

Jess said...

My hubs started graduate school at the age of 27, married, and with one child. He did fine. You'll be fine as well. :)

Happy birthday! I wish I were 26 again. :D

melissa said...

Holy crap, if 26 is old, then it's all over for me.
In all seriousness, you have accomplished a lot. For someone who has had your health issues, you've managed to remain a sane (well most of the time), functioning adult who takes responsibility for herself. You will do lots more with your life, of this I am sure. Happy Birthday and many more.

Five Small Meals said...

First, happy birthday!

Second: Perhaps law school is different in this way than other grad programs, but honestly, I don't notice the age of those around me, save those people who are coming back in their 40s. Will you be older and wiser? Yes. Will some of the students my age piss you off? Yes (they piss us off, too, I promise). But you will make friends.

Of course, I say this as the girl who's perpetually annoyed with the 22 and 23 year olds in my class -- I may be young, but I've had a lot of life experiences they haven't, and find myself hanging out with the more mature ones my age and a lot of the students who are your age.

But even then, I don't do a lot of socializing outside of school. There's just too much going on in most programs.

Lynn said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KATIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hope you had a fantastic day!!!!!!!!!!!
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