In our culture it seems like the "thing to do" is to start freaking out the minute you turn 29, and continue freaking out in an end-of-the-Mayan-calendar manner until you turn 30. And, much like December 21, 2012, you wake up and you're 30 and you realize that nothing is different.
Well for me, 30 isn't really a freak out-worthy event. But 26 is. Why would someone freak out over 26? You've still got four good years left in you before it all starts to go downhill. You're officially in your mid-twenties. That means you should have a job and health insurance and your own place. You probably started matching your socks by now. You maybe even have a houseplant you haven't killed yet. 26 is your prime. So why all the melodrama?
I've been comparing my entire life to 26. Why? Because that was how old my mom was when she had me, her firstborn. My entire life I've used "when my mom had me, she was "x" years older than I am now." It meant that I had time. I didn't need to grow up yet. There was no rush to get married, start making life plans. I had "x" amount of years left to get my shit together.
If I were my mom at this age, I'd be pregnant with me right now.
Don't get me wrong, Ryan and I want kids. We debate between one or two. I keep telling him that no, we cannot give our baby to the SPCA just because it's a girl, and no, we cannot name our boy Optimus Prime, Agamemnon, or Maximus Decimus.
We want kids. Just not right now.
Which I guess makes me feel like a little bit of a hypocrite, because I always said I wanted kids at 26. "My mom had me at 26. I feel like that's a pretty good time to start. I want to be married and have my first child by 26."
Well, check off the first box on that list, even though Ryan and I have both agreed that if things hadn't panned out the way they did that we probably wouldn't even be engaged right now. But kids? We are so not ready. I don't even have a handle on Bear's bath schedule yet. You people expect me to care for human offspring? Yeah, right.
Look how grown up my mom looks here. We're only about a year apart in age in these two photos, and I feel like I still look like a baby. (Speaking of me looking like a baby, I was a damn cute kid.) But seriously, she looks so put together, so grown up. I'm not put together by any means. Just come over and look at the state of our bedroom. And I definitely don't feel grown up. I'm only semi-grown up.
I guess that, for me, my 26th birthday is my personal Mayan calendar. As if I'll turn 26 and magically wake up with it all figured out. That I'll suddenly be this wise adult. Well, I'll tell you what, if there's one thing I've learned about my mom, is that 25 years after that above picture was taken, she still doesn't have it all figured out yet either.
Neither of us probably ever will. Call it a part of the human condition.
I've accepted that my life is nowhere near what I thought it would be. But that's okay, because it's one hell of a life. And while turning 26 this year still feels a little surreal to me, I know that 2013 is going to be one of the best years of my life. I can feel it.
And when Ryan and I do decide to have kids? They'll be cute. as. shit. And awesome. Because they'll be ours.