|Real talk: this photo would not exist if I had not explicitly requested "take a picture of me smiling off into the distance in front of this mural."|
Last Thursday I turned 26. Aka the beginning of my late 20s. And the first year I have to pay for my own health insurance. (Thanks, Obama!)
It's also the youngest I once said I would ever get married. I distinctly remember sitting around the senior corner in the lunch room in high school, chatting with friends about hypothetical marriage ages, and declaring that I wanted to be at least 27 before walking down the aisle - 26 at the earliest. ("But what if you meet the right person before your chosen age, or you haven't met them by then?" we bemoaned.) I don't know how it picked those ages - I guess it seemed old enough to have some independent life experience under your belt before making that commitment. It's sort of funny that marriage is the yardstick we (especially as women) use to think about adulthood. But as Facebook fills up with more and more engagements, it's also comforting, in a way, to know that in the eyes of my high school self, I'm doing just fine.
Age is an odd thing. I know that by every objective measure, 26 is young. But it's also the oldest I've ever been, so I feel old at the same time. I'm no longer the youngest person in the office like I was when I was 23, and I'm no longer looking at a full decade of Ramen and exploration and probably some questionable decisions - but I really do still have some time to figure things out. The late 20s seem like a good time to buckle down and get a semblance of a career plan in order. So Sheryl and I will be working on that this year.
I've always loved the timing of my birthday. It's about six months from Christmas, so it made for an even distribution of present-getting occasions as a kid. It marks the high point of the summer, the very middle of July. And for a few magical years, Harry Potter books and movies would always come out on or right around my birthday. (Book 6 on my 16th birthday on July 16 was a particularly memorable one.)
Here's to another year! It may not be magical in the Harry Potter way, but it will hopefully be magical in the growing-up-and-making-it-happen way.