Saturday, August 20, 2011

Thoughts on 26

There are a pile of dirty dishes and glasses looming high in my kitchen sink, and since we do not own a dishwasher, somebody's hands will be lucky enough to wash all of them clean. I figure that 1:00 AM is not the time to clean the kitchen, and the dirty dishes are going nowhere. The men of The Johnson Estate hosted a birthday gathering for my 26th birthday today, and those dirty dishes are a reminder of the Mexican food we ate, the margaritas we drank, and the silly games we played late into the night. Tonight was a night full of laughter and close friends; that's how it should be. Tomorrow, those dishes will be a reminder to me that I share a home with four wonderful men, and it is my honor and pleasure to serve them, to love them, to do life with them.

I am surprised at what a significant age twenty-six appears to be; I am now on the second half of my twenties. My thirties are not too far away from me, and today's opening convocation at Rhodes College reminded me that I am (thankfully) no more a teenager. This is the first time in seven years that I am living at the same address and in the same room for more than two years, and I am working the same jobs this year that I was last year. I gifted myself two birthday presents: a new MacBook Pro and the 16th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style (I am ashamed to say that I was genuinely excited to purchase this book). I've even gone through an entire package of dental floss, and upon finishing the first, I promptly opened a second one. In a word, I am growing up, and a number of anxieties accompany that reality.

Every so often, I think to myself, "Am I watching the best years of my life float away?" After all, I am 26 and I have never been in a serious dating relationship, while many of my college friends are married with kids. I have not spent a significant time of my life living in another country, but many of my friends have, either through mission work, employment, or school. I don't have a full time job and I still rent a home, while many of my friends are already home owners. Sometimes, I think that I have yet to grow up because I see my buddies living such mature lifestyles; I often wonder if I'm living a glorified, collegiate bachelor's life that sometimes likes to dress up nicely for work.

Then I think of all that I have done. I have been to three different countries on three continents, and I will add a fourth next summer. I claim the supreme privilege of calling the inner-city neighborhood of Binghampton my home. I have performed in Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Cannon Center, St. Paul's Cathedral in London, and Canterbury Cathedral. For a year, I served as a teaching fellow for one of the congregations of our neighborhood's house church network. My work has taken me all over the country and to the farthest reaches of the planet.

And today, I turn 26. My life is just beginning. My hopes are radiant, and my goals are larger than Goliath himself. Though the prospect of true adulthood frightens me, I am eager to grow, to learn, to sing, and share, and to laugh in the coming twelve months.

But in the meantime, that pile of dishes isn't cleaning itself, but it can wait till the morning.

Until next time,

1 comment:

M said...

I may be married and anxious about having kids, but I feel like I haven't accomplished anything compared to your success and accolades. While you have gone on to do wonderful things with your major and studies, I sit at home doing nothing. I'm so happy you had such a wonderful birthday, one that sounds just like what a birthday ought to be!