Everyone has a scary-age. The age we dread because we associate it with growing old. For most people it’s the obvious landmarks of 30 or 40 or 50. Some of us are more obscure. My scary age is 26!
I’ve been trying to remember when and why 26 became a scary age. I think it was some time in my teen years. I vaguely remember being 16 and thinking “Wow! In 10 years I’ll be 26…that’s ages away…10years is forever... I can’t ever imagine being 26!” At the time I didn’t know anyone who was 26. Some of my friends were in their early twenties but 26 was clearly in the late twenties and that’s a whole other thing!
It seemed to me that people in their late twenties were grown up. I can remember my parents in their late twenties. My Dad had a proper job (the same one he still has!), my Mum was a housewife, and they had 2 kids and a semi-d in suburbia. I reckoned that’s what people did in their twenties. They started a real grown-up life! I did realise times had changed. My real grown-up life would entail an important fulfilling career, I’m a hopeless romantic so I still wanted to get married but I’d no strong desire for babies…they’d wait until my thirties! And I could do without a semi-d, a fabulous city-centre apartment was more my style! But I fully expected to be started on my grown-up life when I turned 26.
This belief has been at the back of my mind for the past 10 years…until 26 became an age I dreaded. My Scary Age! Especially in recent times as it became more apparent that I was not really achieving any of my aspirations for a grown-up life. (I really should be well on the way to world domination my now!)
I’m telling you all this because today I turned 26…and it wasn’t scary at all. In many ways I am more of a child than ever. I am single, unemployed, chronically ill, living at home and very dependant on other people. But 26 is a great birthday. A birthday I want to celebrate. Because turning 26 has made me realise that I am happy where I am right now. I am lucky to be alive to see 26, some of my friends will never grow older. I have the love and support of an amazing family and I have a small group of really great friends.
I am not complacent. I would never have wished for my life to be like this as I turn 26, and I do not want to be here forever. I want to get better, get a job, move out, fall in love etc. But I am thankful that as I face my scary age…it’s not scary anymore! I am happy with what I have been given for now, instead of being discontent and wishing for a ‘perfect’ life that never existed.
They say life is what happens when you’re making plans. Life is what I’m living right now. And today I am celebrating facing my scary-age and realising that it’s only an illusion evaporating before my eyes.