What 26 Looks Like

what26lookslikeAt 2:51 this morning, I turned 26. Even though I’ve been 25 for a year and knew that 26 comes next, I’m still having a hard time wrapping my head around it. Now that I am starting the other side of my 20’s, it seems like my adult ranking just went up quite a bit. I don’t feel old, and I don’t have any issue getting older, it just feels weird. In all honesty, I feel more like I’m 17 or 22 in my head most days.

Knowing that my birthday was coming up, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I expected my life to be like at 26 versus what it actually is like. If you had asked me five years ago, I would have likely said I would be married (but not to Christopher — that’s another story for another day), with one or two kids, have my BA in English and in Education and be a stay-at-home mom after spending a year or two as a high school English teacher or a kindergarten teacher. I expected to be working on my first novel, or second as well as being a freelance writer for a magazine like Elle or Vogue and my husband and I would own our first home or be very close to that dream. I would have visited New York City multiple times, travelled across Europe and been to California and I would have expected to be living somewhere other than Calgary  — probably in the States.

The reality? I am married, and will be celebrating my three years of marriage to Christopher in just two weeks. We don’t have kids yet, and we are still renting (and will be for a while). I still have one more semester before I can graduate and I will likely not be going into Education afterwards. I’m not sure that I want to write fiction anymore, but I am happy writing every day for this blog, and have plans to continue that for a very long time. New York is still a dream, but I am hoping we can make a visit within the next year. I still have yet to visit Europe, but know that I will make it there someday. I have now been to California, and definitely felt at home there and dream of going back daily. I can’t imagine living anywhere other than Calgary at the moment, as this is where Christopher’s job is, and where our families are (though I am not opposed to living somewhere else in the distant future).

Even though my life is not exactly what I imagined it to be years ago, I’m still happy. I’m happy to have our families close by and that I can continue to build strong relationships with each family member. I am happy that we live in a safe home, that we have money for rent, and that Christopher has a job that he loves. I am happy that I haven’t given up with my education. Although I will be four years older than I originally planned to be when I graduate, the experiences and trials that I have faced during this time have taught me so much and made me a better person. I’m happy that I have things to look forward to, like travelling more with my husband, and the children that we will have one day when the time is right.

This is what 26 looks like. I still don’t have all the answers, and have realized that I never will. I don’t have everything that I want, but I am learning to be happy with the fact that I have everything that I need. I’m excited to see what 26 will bring!

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  • ramirezmaria61

    Happy Birthday! I’m with you, when you celebrate your birthday you start thinking about how you imagined you life vs how it looks like now, but the best part is to realize that this is exactly the beauty of it, even if it doesn’t look exactly how you pictured.

  • Elyse

    This post sums up my milestones for 26! When my Mother was 26 she was married and had me, so I have this ‘perfect’ picture in my head for what I want my life to be like when I am 26. However, I still have just over 5 years to go before I reach that point and I’m sure a lot will change between then and now.

    Thank for you sharing your feelings about it, because I’m sure plenty of people can relate!

    And Happy Birthday– at least you’re not 30, right?! 😉

    http://www.thethingislemons.wordpress.com

  • This was lovely. It’s amazing how different our lives are from what we imagined when we were younger. I’m currently in NYC (and single) and that’s not somewhere I would have every placed myself. I do hope you get a chance to come out here some time. It is a wonderful city.

  • Well, I am 36 now, and my life went through many phases when it was far from what I had imagined it to be. But as you said, every struggle and obstacle just made me the person I am right now. And today, still renting, being a full-time working mum to a beautiful 16 months old girl and married very happily for 18 months, my life isn’t exactly as I had planned, but it is exactly as I want it to be.
    Happy Birthday!

    LindaLibraLoca: Beauty, Baby and Backpacking

  • I still go to answer “21” when people ask me how old I am. That’s just how old I feel.

  • As a same age I like to think to yours!

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