Today, I am 26. For the first time, I’m nearer thirty than twenty. That is sort of weird for me to think about. I’m not sure why “weird” is the word that comes to mind; I ought to have a better one. “Weird” is used so often, and for so many different things, it doesn’t quite pinpoint how I feel. But feelings are difficult to pinpoint anyway – perhaps it’s fitting.
Today, I am the oldest I’ve ever been.
Today, I think about how, for most of my life, I’ve been young, but will begin to be old, then older, and someday, Lord willing, I will have spent more of my life being an adult – being old – than I will have spent being young. Right now, I don’t know what that’s like. I only know what it’s like to be young, and younger. We’re getting there, though. And it feels . . . it feels like we’re getting there quickly.
Time sped up for me just before high school. It seemed to run quicker once grades began to matter more: when I started to look ahead to college, to saving money, to writing novels, to all these big goals I wanted to accomplish. Suddenly, there was time. Or, rather, there wasn’t time. Or there was time for this and not for that. I’d spend a day on math tests, on composition, on reading poetry and short stories, on trying to understand the mole and relativity. Another day, I’d sit on the farmhouse’s porch swing and I’d look out at the way the sunlight danced on forest leaves across the road. I’d look and I’d wonder and then I’d write. Not for school, but for myself. At the end of those days, those writing-days when I should have done homework, I always expected to feel guilty for spending precious time on dancing light.
I never felt guilty.
Time ran faster at college. It runs faster now, with jobs and a mortgage and a house and a yard. With friends and family, with books to read and books to write, with mornings and evenings – so often unnoticed. So much dancing light unseen. I expect time to run faster with each season, each year. It’s all right. But it feels weird.
Today I am 26, and finding a bit of dancing light to wonder at might be difficult, because the sky is gray and the leaves are gone. However, I might be able to find that piece of writing from years ago, when I sat on the porch swing and delighted in summer sunshine.
It will be a Happy Birthday, from my younger self to me now.
~ Tolerate less clutter
~ Dress up sometimes
~ Be less weak and flabby
~ Cook meat! Cook it well!
~ Read 50 books
~ Invite friends over more often
~ Talk less about writing
~ Do more actual writing
~ Think less about having fun
~ Think more about doing better, about being better
~ Get rid of this cold. Get rid of this cold for good. Get rid of this cold with such passionate fiery finality that it doesn’t come back for the rest of the winter.