How do you celebrate 26? How do you celebrate such an odd (odd!) year? It is not a milestone like 25. It is not significant the way 18 and 21 are. And it is not representative of any type of confirmed maturity. It is 26.
Last year, 25 had a lot of meaning. It was the silver birthday. A round twenty five. A year where the “mid-twenties” is used to describe me, and not the irresponsible sounding “early-twenties”. Heck, it is the age where yes, (Beware free advertising), I finally began to save money on my car insurance!
Not to mention, 25 marked a time where not only did I earn my Masters degree, but became engaged to my lovely tag-team partner.
25 is easy to remember. 25 will always standout.
So on a day like yesterday where yours truly celebrated 26 years of running this race called life, there was a steady hesitancy on my part on not only how to celebrate, but how to reflect and seek exactly what 26 meant to me.
So, what exactly does 26 mean?
The easy answer would simply be, it marks one year since everything happened when I turned 25 (New Beginnings).
A cheap, cop-out reason.
However, as the day went on, normal as any other day – work, work, and oh yeah, work – the ride home allowed me to slowly materialize what 26 means. On a May 25th, where figuring out how to celebrate me was the last thing in my conscious, my mind continued to comeback from this search of “26” to thoughts forced upon by the countless articles and pictures of the tornado ravaged area of Joplin, Missouri. After returning home, and relaxing with my tag team partner on the same front porch where I punched the keys about a “New Beginning” just a year ago, it dawned on me what 26 is really about – life.
While it was just another day like any other hump day-Wednesday, 26 is about moments like hanging with my future wife, hugging my mother, and slapping high fives with my father. It’s about reading Facebook messages from people who I thought had long forgotten with simple messages of “I miss you” or other personalized messages on your wall. It’s about looking at the relationships you’ve made in this race, the ones no longer active, those that are always there, and the ones you now have that you never thought would develop as such. 26 is about slowing it down, and living in the moment.
As my tag team partner’s father (future father-in law and amazingly wise) stated to me in an E-mail today, “enjoy the journey”.
Because, as many, many tragedies in 2011 have taught us – most recently Joplin, Missouri – life changes very fast.
And life will change.
Turning 26, is just another change.