I’ve been age-obsessed as of late. I haven’t yet figured out why my mind has chosen twenty-six as the arbitrary year in which I begin to freak out about age. My sincere apologies to my friends who are older than me and have had to listen to me complain about getting older. I’m sure I’ll laugh at me in a couple of years too.
Anyway, I can’t even pinpoint what scares me about my next birthday. Maybe I’m intimidated by all the great things that happened in the last year. Twenty-five was good to me, maybe I’m not ready to wrap it up.
I am right where I need to be. I am living in a place I love very much, possibly too much. You know those couples who walk down sidewalks with their hands in each other’s back pockets? Isn’t that obnoxious and terrifying? That is how I feel about the Carolinas. My left hand is proudly resting in the proverbial back pocket of the Carolinas’ jeans while we stroll down Main Street. Twenty-five has been the year of me rediscovering this love, really exploring my home and finding new ways to love it as an adult.
But there’s no reason for me to think this won’t continue into twenty-six, so that can’t be what scares me.
Maybe it’s the subtle changes in my face. My face is changing, it’s aging. I’m a long way from looking like an old woman and people who’ve known me forever still tell me my face has been the same since I was a kid. The difference in them and me is I see me every day. I study my face because it’s mine. No one will ever know or care to know my face better than I will. So I’ve picked up on the subtle changes. I know I don’t have any major wrinkles yet, but I’m starting to see where they will be one day. My face has practiced the muscle-memory of so many expressions for long enough that I can see the spots where one day the lines will stick. Someday I’ll raise my eyebrows and notice for the first time that those three lines that form above each brow didn’t go away when I lowered them.
But right now the lines still disappear when my brow-raising expression drops.
So I don’t know what it is that has me constantly thinking about what twenty-six means. It’s probably either vapid narcissism or just me not being able to escape what I’m now referring to as “chronic over-thought”. Whatever the reason for my minor freak-out, I need to calm it down. I’m pretty sure I won’t grow my first gray hair between now and Wednesday and I will probably get cake. So how bad can twenty-six be, really?