I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how much more comfortable I’d be with my position in life right now if I were 24.
24, single, M.A., about to travel the world.
That sounds about right.
26, [haven’t even MET the person I’m gonna marry (for reals this time) yet] [tens of thousands in student debt] [uncertain future].
That’s how that sounds at 26.
I come from a long line of women who lie about their age. To me, it’s funny, it’s elegant, it’s part of being a lady.
And so briefly, I’d decided that this was the year I would subtract two years and start back at 24.
I like 24.
But then I asked myself which two years I would subtract.
If I’m 24 now, then which two years am I deleting from my life? Not saying that anyone’s life is particularly uneventful,
But I’ve led a pretty packed 26 years. Every year was a year of note. Every year was a year that I learned/experienced something substantial that contributed a crucial component to the woman I’m growing to love today.
So which of these components could I do without?
Certainly none from my early twenties; each of those lessons was hard-learned, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to go through that shit again for the sake of subtracting a year or two.
What about my late teens, then?
there were no wasted years.
Early teens were a mix of lessons and good memories with friends whom I still love,
before that was childhood, and every moment of childhood is precious.
Don’t get me wrong,
I am in no way saying there aren’t things I wouldn’t do differently.
I’m not one of those people who insists that if they got to do it all again they “wouldn’t change a thing because it made me who I am today.”
If I got to do it all again as the woman I am today,
I’d invest in apple and stay the HELL away from these boys.
It is what it is.
At the same time, though,
I look back at my life and I start to see my 26 years as 26 battle scars.
Each year was like a little war that I survived. I survived 26 times. How many people can say they went into battle (sometimes blind) 26 times and survived? That’s an achievement. That’s something to be proud of.
I think it’s almost like a mother’s stretch marks.
She may miss her unmarked skin. She may see it on other women and compare their smooth, flat stomachs to hers.
But at the same time,
she created life. And as a part of that process, she got stretch marks.
Each mark is there as a direct result of some stage of development of the life that was inside of her. Which aspect of that life would she diminish to have fewer marks?
That’s how I’m starting to feel about 26.
It is a bit too high for my liking.
I am damn uncomfortable with being single and broker than broke.
But at the same time,
This is my life. Every year, every moment, every second has been an integral part of shaping me into a woman who is now comfortable saying things like “that ain’t gon work. I know me.”
Some women are that woman at 24, but me,
I needed 26 years. And so I accept my 26 years as outward indicators of the life that is growing inside of me. They are not my ideal, but they are my actual. And for simply that reason, I love and accept them.