Tomorrow, I turn 26 years old.
I don’t know why, but 26 seems like the turning point between my mid-twenties and my late twenties. When I graduated from college two months shy of 22, I didn’t think about how much would change in another four years. 26… it seems like such an adult number.
Last year, I was working two jobs, barely covering my bills. My birthday was on a Friday. I couldn’t even stay up very late to celebrate because I had to be at work the next day at 2am to produce the Saturday morning show. Todd and Jesse met Ryan and me for sushi, and then we went to Dave and Buster’s. I was in bed by 10pm, and dead to the world the next day.
Two years ago, we lived in Joplin. That kind of blows my mind.
Five years ago, I turned 21. Actually, five years ago today, I was wrapping up a week of being a band camp counselor at TLU, and had lunch with Veronica at Chili’s in San Antonio. I ordered an Electric Lemonade, even though I wasn’t turning 21 until the next day. And they didn’t even card me. Ha! On my actual birthday, I was back in Sherman, where I had dinner with my parents at Applebee’s, and Mom and I each had a Bahama Mama.
Eight years ago, I turned 18. I had recently graduated from high school, and was getting ready for college. I was excited that I was legal to vote. Little did I know that there would be such bleak outcomes in the next two presidential elections…
Ten years ago, I got my driver’s license. Jake (who was 14!) and I borrowed Dad’s truck and drove aimlessly around Sherman, dropping in on friends to show off. It’s kind of hard to be impressive when you’re in a ’91 Nissan King Cab with a camper shell. But we managed it, of course.
Twenty-one years ago, I turned five. I don’t remember anything about it, but I do know that it was the transition between little-girlhood and big-girlhood. I was going into Kindergarten the next fall at Fairview Elementary!
Twenty-four years ago, I turned two, and had a week-old baby brother, who would be my greatest adversary – and greatest ally – growing up. My mom was 26.
Twenty-six years ago, it was one of the hottest summers on record and I was a late baby. I’m surprised my mom has forgiven me for that. My dad was 26. I can’t even fathom being a parent now, at age 26.
I know that age is just a number, but it’s kind of useful for marking off those milestones and putting signposts to memories. It’s fun to reflect on the way things were, and to speculate on the way things might be someday. Ryan tells me that we’re going out tonight, and it’s a surprise… I wonder what memories I’ll have to remember from this year?