It has finally happened. I celebrated my very last birthday ever. Last year, I was clueless, blinded by the joy that reaching a memorable age like 25 brings.
Okay, that's not true.
I anticipated this birthday even last year, but I pretended that it would never come. It's rather pathetic, I know. It's especially hard to moan and groan about my age when most people I might moan and groan to are older than me. Much older than me.
However, here is the problem: I've been lied to.
Going through high school you're told that all you need to do is go to college and then enjoy life in your field which you spent a mere four years preparing for. The unfortunate thing that they never tell you is that many will not know what they really want to do and may not be able to grasp it instantly. It will take trial and error, and lots and lots of sweat and tears (I left the blood part out on purpose, so far that hasn't happened to me).
You're expected at 17-years-old to make choices that will impact the rest of your life. But, no one ever tells you that you may not fit into the perfect cookie cutter shaped career world that many ease right into.
Turning 26 reminded me that there is a lot that at 17 I expected to have accomplished by now, but haven't.
I walked into my home at midnight on my birthday, overwhelmed with emotion, tired and ready to climb into bed and pull the covers over my head so the next year could just go on and pass me by, when I walked into a surprise left by my little brother (with the assistance of his girlfriend and my older brother):
(Notes leading into my home)
(Not sure the deal with the skeletons, but it made for an interesting picture).
Knowing the anxiety I was feeling, he went to extreme efforts to try and make me feel special. It took a few days for it to sink in, but I realized: maybe I haven't done everything I hoped and dreamed I'd do by 26, but I've done a few things right. I've been a good sister, daughter, wife, and simply put: woman. I've been there for those who needed me. I've done my best at showing love to those who are unlovable. I've been supportive and understanding. I've grown spiritually. I've listened to others. I've built friendships.
I've loved and been loved.
Sappy? Yes. And yes, in some sense I'm not where 17-year-old me thought I'd be by 26, but in many respects, I'm right on track.
Here's to the hope of what good I can continue to do this year.