I suppose I could have written the typical birthday post detailing what I've learned in my 26 years of living, dating, working and mating. I kind of wanted a low key birthday, which is what I got. It was nice.
Even the Saturday night birthday celebration was fairly low key in comparison to past years of dancing until dawn and other such activities. I still wasn't feeling wonderful and I had to use my inhaler before I even left the house. (I think I got overheated whilst making my hair big and curly and wonderful.) But I looked cute and totally rocked the cleavage. And dinner was nice and there was singing and I was in bed by 11 p.m. because one cosmo plus two glasses of wine plus tons of medicine is not a cocktail for staying up late.
I've done this adult birthday thing before. The agonizing over your age, denying that you're getting a year older, acceptance of your ultimate fate and drowning of your sorrow in some pink-tinted drink while trying not to fall off of your three-inch heels or set your sparkly shirt on fire with a cigarette. (Which I no longer smoke, thankyouverymuch.)
Adult birthdays are kind of like losing your virginity. You look in the mirror after the first time and wonder if you look different or if anyone can tell. And you study yourself and realize that while you are a little changed on the inside, you're still the same person you were the day before. Sure, you change a lot between age 22 and 26. And you change a lot between your first partner, the ones in between and your current guy. But the change isn't an immediately obvious thing – you don't look or feel any different the moment you turn 26 than you did five minutes before when you were 25. The same goes for before you're deflowered and after.
So is 26 really even that different than 24 or 25? Are all mid-twenties the same? And will I feel different – excited, scared, frustrated – next year when I turn 27 and enter my late twenties?
I feel like I'm constantly waiting for any epiphany. As if with each milestone, like a birthday or a great new job or other "adult" rites of passage, I'm supposed to gain some magical knowledge that will make life a lot easier and my smile brighter and my heart lighter. And really, the knowledge is gained and the epiphanies happen each day – in traffic, at the grocery store, while pumping gas.
But honestly, right now, at this moment in life, I can truly say I'm happy. I thought happiness and contentment would come like a tidal wave crashing to the shore. And I'd wake up and I'd be soaked with happiness. But it's kind of like garden sprinklers – a little bit keeps the ground wet and fertile.
There are things I want, but I know how to get them. And I'm wise enough to know that what I really want is usually found in the getting there, rather than in the being there.
I said I was going to avoid the "What I have learned" birthday post. I lied. Sue me.
Cheers to the 26 year olds. Cheers to those in their mid-twenties. Cheers to not needing, wanting or causing emotional earthquakes all the time.