I am turning 26 tomorrow. (Too late, I turned 26 on Saturday. This is what I get for not finishing a post in time)
Some people, when they turn 26, apparently take it in stride and feel like this is a kind of "non" birthday because there isn't really anything significant attached to it. 25 is the big quarter century, rent a car without a ridiculous surcharge year. But at 26, some people do dinner and drinks and then go back to work the next day.
Other people, myself included, suddenly realize that aging is actually something that is happening, the march to 30 is very very real (as if it hadn't been before), and basically stick their head in the sand (or in a jar of anti-aging cream) and wait for it to pass so they can repeat the process at 27.
I should clarify. I have no problem with getting closer to 30. I have a lot of friends who are or soon will be 30 and they are people I absolutely look up to. They've got a great handle on their careers, they're independent, funny, confident and smart smart smart people.
My bigger problem is with a certain nostalgia. Hell, I sat at my desk in college the day I turned 20 and said to myself "I will never be a teenager again." Perhaps we're all programmed to think that we get do-overs or we can relive things. But we can't. I've loved my 20's and hell, I'm only half way through them.
It also doesn't help that I saw "signs of aging" in a photo of me for the first time ever about a month ago. Cue freak out. Since then, a steady diet of water and 4 anti-aging skin products have made me feel pretty radiant, so perhaps the freak out was for the best.
Anyway. What got me from freak out to waking up calm and radiant on Saturday morning was this:
Life is what you make of it and I know I'm not the first to say it or realize it, but at the end of life, what you did was what you did and that's all that you can do. You cannot go back, you cannot change it, and you can't affect everything around you. But, you can affect some things. You can set goals and challenge yourself and live the life you want to as best you can. And that is where a life is made: in what you choose to do and how you touch the people around you. I know it's all very Hallmark, but have you really sat down and thought about that? I mean, really really thought that eventually, it all does end. We all die. So, why waste time?
I'm taking solace in my training. I'm proud of myself for taking on a half Ironman. I'm proud of myself for training for another marathon. And I'm excited. I feel like 26 is going to be a great year.