I was 9 when I was in my older sister’s wedding. At her reception I cried. I didn’t make a scene or anything, but I quietly cried to my dad about the fact that all of my siblings were so grown-up and I was still just a little kid. I wanted to be as grown-up as them. This is hilarious to me now because yes, my sisters were 25 and 26 at the time, but my brothers were just 13 and 4 days shy of 16. In that moment even 13 seemed grown up. He was in middle school, after all, and my other brother was about to start driving. All I had ahead of me was a fourth grade report card, and my first rec. league basketball season. I didn’t even have my own boombox yet. I was just a little kid.
There’s a song I’ve been listening to a lot by Jason Isbell. It’s called ‘Streetlights’. There’s one line in it that sticks out every time: “Time moves slow when you’re 17 but it picks up steam at 21” – Jason nails it. Time accelerates. It’s one of those things you hear, but you don’t believe until you live it. Those are my favorite kind of lessons, the kind that make you want to call your mom and say “you were right, I get it now.” I do a lot of that. My mom has been right about a lot of things. It’s mildly infuriating. Maybe one day I’ll be a mom who is right about a lot of things… but I sort of doubt it.
Getting older — becoming a grown-up — joining my older siblings all happened a lot faster than I expected. Are you happy, 9 year old Elizabeth… are you? The answer is yes. I am. It’s been a fun ride since then. Since the night I cried in the ballroom of the Clemson Hendricks Center I’ve taken my first plane ride, gotten a driver’s license, had my first beer, had more beers, had my first kiss, had more kisses, run in my first race, run in many more races, had my first job, left my first job to be closer to home, eaten things I’d never tried before, seen things I’d never seen, had my first broken bone… broke the same bone a week after getting the cast off, danced (terribly) on stages, been caught singing loudly to myself in my car, kayaked alone on the ocean, celebrated weddings, celebrated births, spent school years on the beach and summers working at camp, all of those things and a million others I couldn’t think to name while sitting here… and I still don’t have my first gray hair. So yes, I’m happy.
I’ve spent the last month writing stuff here. I want you to know I appreciate any time you’ve taken to read what I’ve posted. It means a lot to me, really. I can’t say it enough. It hasn’t all been good. It hasn’t all made sense. But I’m glad I stuck with it. I made myself publicly post something every day, instead of just keeping my words in random notebooks hidden around my room… and you beautiful people have been very kind about the whole thing. Thank you. I won’t be posting daily anymore. This was just a challenge for myself. It’ll still be here, though. I’ll post when the mood strikes and you can read in the same manner. And if you never come back here again, thanks anyway for reading these words this one time.
I liked being twenty-five. I was in no rush to be twenty-six, but I’ll take it. I’ll have cake for breakfast and celebrate the fact that I accomplished something this month that wasn’t easy for me… and that I am currently still free of gray hairs.