Posted by: Kristy | March 12, 2010

She’s 26 going on dead

During my recent move I found a photo booth strip of me and my friend Carrie mugging for the camera on my 18th birthday.

Man, I thought I was old that day. I remember driving my Jeep (‘cuz I was that kind of cool) to meet my family and Carrie for dinner at Red Lobster, listening to Hoku’s “Perfect Day.”

Yep. It was a perfect day. Drizzly. Cold. Icky. I was old. A perfect freaking day.

When I turned 21 I felt surprisingly young and vibrant, ready to take on the world and the full life ahead of me. That changed at 24, probably the suckiest year of my existence so far. I felt ancient that entire year, a feeling I spent an entire year getting over so I could firmly embrace 25.

That year, my 25th year, I told myself how young I was. How many options I had before me. I had so much time to continue establishing my career, to fall in extreme infatuation — er, love — and marry a fun, driven, handsome man who thinks I’m funny and considers all my crazy to be adorable. I was in my mid-20s, for crying out loud. There was no reason to wail and gnash my teeth. MID-20s.

This made turning 26 a breeze since I wasn’t planning on moving to my late-20s until age 35 or 40. I had found the Fountain of Youth and it was lurking in my psyche the entire time.

My youthful memory had forgotten the perspective of an 18-year-old. The one who thought EIGHTEEN was old, let alone 21 or, God forbid, TWENTY SIX. Gosh, people actually live to be 26?

This way of thinking crashed into me during a tour with a prospective student. She was 19  years old, had a 1-year-old baby boy and, though she was sweet as a cinnamon bun, was convinced her circumstances had already taught her more life lessons than she will ever need to know.

During her interview she asked questions about me: What do I respect about our company? Am I a hairstylist? Did I go to college? What was my major? And my favorite:

“You’re so nice and easy to talk to. How old are you, if you don’t mind me asking?”

Crickets.

“Ahem, (polite chuckle) I’m in my 20s. My MID-20s.”

With the sweetest, most sincere smile her reply smacked me back into my scrunchie, high-tops, stretch pants and Shannon Miller-style bangs circa 1992. (Yeah, because that’s what all the cool kids wore.)

“Well … you look great!”

Sigh. Which way to the geriatric wing?

My roommates and I at the ripe age of 20. (Excuse me, 21. My bad.) You know, before I turned old, apparently. To any 26-year-old I naively encountered, I'm sorry.

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Responses

  1. You were most definitely 21 in that picture my dear. I know because it was taken in a bar. And you were consuming alcohol in said bar. It was a fun night though.

  2. Oh, that’s right, it was when we visited you! OK, I was 21. 🙂

  3. And it was a fun night. 🙂

  4. Just wait until you hit 3-0. yeah, most of the people i deal with on a daily basis at school are between 26 & 18, so I’m the “old lady” and “momma hen”.

    oh to be young & 26 again!

  5. BTW, your journey from 18—26 paralleled mine. I believe I had the same EXACT thoughts. Oh, AND 24 was my 1 year premature quarter-life crisis. Thank God that year is over.


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