Tomorrow I turn 26. 26.
I know 26 isn’t old, but when people ask me how old I am, I automatically want to say 21. Sometimes it still feels like I should be going to Halo Mondays with my friends and thinking about my next uni deadline.
26 just seems so… grown up. People are married with babies at 26. People are divorced at 26. People have fought in wars, earned millions, overcome addictions, changed the world. People have died before they have even reached the age of 26.
And tomorrow, that’s how old I will be.
When I was teaching, I sometimes felt like I was ‘playing’ being an adult, thinking ‘surely I aren’t actually in charge of these children?’. When I moved to the other side of the world, I kept waiting for my parents to pop up like we were just on a family holiday together. Trying to plan a wedding almost felt like being a child and talking to your friends about your dream wedding. I’m an adult, I pay taxes, I do a weekly shop, I buy my own clothes… but sometimes it feels like I got to this point too quickly. It feels like I’ve blinked and now I am suddenly ‘grown up’, whatever that means. I can’t believe how quickly I got here when it seems like only five minutes ago I was playing in the garden with skinned knees and looking forward to my mum calling me inside for dinner.
Time is a funny thing. You know that the clock is ticking and that time is moving forward. You know you can’t stop it or slow it down, but sometimes the reality of just how fast time moves hits you square in the chest.
I love my life, but sometimes I could cry when I think of being a child, carefree and so incredibly happy. Memories of family holidays and dinners around the table make me well up. If I could have a time machine to go back and do it all again, I would, and I wouldn’t change a single thing. I guess that’s a testament to my parents. I guess that’s a testament to a happy life.
I know that this post doesn’t make much sense – it’s just the nostalgic ramblings of a woman on the other side of the world on the eve of her birthday – but I just wanted to write and say that time is precious. We think we know that, but we don’t, not really. We never get those chances again, those moments, those connections, that time again. Make them count. Make it all count.