No one writes songs about being 26. We think of the milestone years – turning 18, 21 and then 30. Even 25 is earmarked as significant to some degree, as people remind you “you’re a quarter of a century old!” whilst you shovel in handfuls of birthday cake at the thought of not being 16 anymore. But 26? I’ve never heard anyone say “you’re a quarter of a century plus one year old”, and I doubt it’ll catch on. It’s that in between age that doesn’t seem particularly defining, right?
Today I turn 26. The birthday excitement depletes a little as each year goes by, and it’s instead replaced by a panicked thought, what am I doing with my life?
A very good question. Each year, I try to reflect on the 365 days between now and my previous birthday. More so than I do on New Year’s Day. Whilst I’d consider the previous two years as progress years towards the bigger picture, it was in this last year that the fruits of my labour came into their own. I finally bought my first home (what a ride that was!) and I started a new job. I love feeling challenged, and in an environment that encourages personal growth and to be the best version of yourself. I’m so happy I made the leap.
Two defining moments down, and naturally, I was ready to start working on my next big thing. I’m so, so close to finishing my first book draft, and even though there’s a heap of work I need to do once it’s finished, writing 30,000 words is no mean feat.
But, the intangible achievements are just as important as the tangible ones. On the wake of my last birthday, I was so incredibly unhappy in a situation that I couldn’t see myself escaping from. I was stuck in a rut, and if you are the average of the five people you spend most of your time with, I didn’t want to be that average. Either through circumstance or choice, I Marie Kondo’ed my life from toxic people and relationships.
So, indeed, I worked on becoming a better person, for myself and for those around me. 25 was the year I pushed the boundaries of my comfort zone; I learnt that heading to a sports session or exercise class alone isn’t the least bit as scary as my brain tells me it’ll be, and I’ve grown physically stronger and made new friends as a result. I’m working on improving that average.
As I write a list of all the things I want to achieve as I head into this next year, I realise I’ve got plenty more fire in my belly to continue growing … and I can’t wait to share it with you. 26, I’m ready!