The birthday is ages (months) away, but I can’t stop thinking about it. Birthdays are a weird thing for me. Unlike most of my peers, I always looked forward to getting older. Birthdays mean presents, parties, and everyone paying attention to you. I mean what is age really? Just a number that you never feel. I suppose I get that from my mom who loves her birthday. She announces it proudly to anyone and everyone. An anomally among her generation.
That all worked fine until last year. Every year before, I was known for getting my own age wrong. “How old are you?” “25. No, 21. No 24. Heh. sorry.” I never paid any attention to it. But then I was actually about to turn 25. I don’t understand it but that seemed weird to me. I’d always wanted to be a year old than I was, and then… I was content being 24. But birthdays are unavoidable. I wasn’t afraid of it or hoping it wouldn’t happen. It just felt odd. After 24 years of wanting to be older, I didn’t want to anymore.
I’ve got 2 months ’til the next big day, and I’m just as uncomfortable as before. More so.
It can be partly blamed on my employment. Most of my coworkers are in the 21-23 range of heavy drinking and general irresponsibility. My managers are all around my age, but there’s a rule about fraternizing.
I’m starting to worry about being too old for things – something I’ve never worried before. Strictly speaking, I think everyone could do with acting a bit more childish in the things that count. (and less like tweens in the power plays and bullying that yet pervades adulthood). I’m following my dream of becoming an author. I really am the happiest I’ve ever been. So why feel like slinking around behind the birthday and avoiding it all together?
I don’t want to grow up and do adult things. It’s not the bill paying. It’s all the… expectations. You know, the ones no one (except perhaps my grandma) have for me. Settle down, house with yard, marriage, regular paying work, full savings account…. Why do these things bug me if no one is pressuring me with them? (ehem, excepting grandma again.) Societal pressures based on media? Watching all my friends settle down? Secret desire? Fear of missing out on the irresponsible things left to do?
Was 26 like this for everyone?