(me on my 20th birthday ^^)
Tomorrow I turn 26 years old.
That’s one of my ‘scary ages’ (obligatory Sex and the City reference). Why such a young ‘scary age’, you ask? Well, I suppose it has to do with expectations of what a 26 year old ‘should’ be on the road to accomplishing by now.
Your early twenties (according to my perceptions of societal expectations) are for a few things: education, travel, ‘finding yourself,’ or the old standby of getting good and hosed. I fit the mould in most respects – I’m graduating with my undergrad this year, I’ve done a fair amount of living and travelling across Canada and a bit abroad and I’ve found some of my passions in life. As a bonus I’ve also found myself a loving and committed partner with whom to share my life. The good ‘n’ hosed part I did more when I was 16 … but it was definitely there.
Your late twenties, on the other hand, are for developing your career, furthering your education, marriage, mortgages, and (my personal favourite) – babies! This is what I feel is the conventional path that any mid-to-late-twenties lady should be on. And this is why 26 is a scary age for me – because I don’t want any of the above – no more school, no houses, and definitely no children (!) – I’m not even sure where I want to live. Marriage is still a tricky one for me to wrap my head around, so that one isn’t happening any time soon. As for developing a career – I would love to have my dream job – but I’m not committed to putting the time into a career just yet.
So, at the cusp of being 26 years old, and officially entering the realm of my ‘mid-to-late twenties’ … all I want to do is have fun still. Is that so wrong? My grand, responsible, 26-year-old goals include: getting on my bike more, working/volunteering for things I believe in, travel via cycle touring, and … do some more knitting. That’s about it. Well, and be happy… that’s always there. But as for aspirations for your traditional, responsible, adult life … noppers.
I suppose lots of people say that your thirties are ‘the new twenties’, and the forties ‘the new thirties’, etc, so I’m not running out of time or anything …. but I still feel some sort of societal pressure to ‘get my shit together’ so to speak.
But I guess it just comes down to this: I look at friends of mine who have sacrificed where they love to live, the things they love doing, and in many ways, their happiness, to get where they are in their lives in terms of a career or education … and I don’t envy them. I’m happy that I’ve prioritized what I love in my life in the first quarter century. Let’s hope I have the strength and wisdom to do the same for the next quarter-century. 🙂