I wanted to kick this off with the phrase “another year around the moon” but then I got really stressed that I’ve used it in all of my other annual birthday posts. I’m inclined to think that 23 and 24 may have made it out alive, but 25 feels sneakily suspicious.
Alas, here we are. Another year around the moon. 26. I hate it. This is terrible and this is awful. This is the decline of my youth. There is no excitement.
I’m kidding, of course. Mild excitement. But I learned my lesson from last year. 25 was an age where everyone piled on more expectation than I’ve ever known. “This will be the best year of your life!” “25 holds so much promise!” “That is the greatest age!” Thanks to all of that, I went into it with too much energy and created too many of my own expectations and, shockingly, very few of them were actually lived up to. Very few. I left the year quite displeased with all of those people who did that to me! I’m convinced they put the whammy on it.
So, in 26 I’m decidedly expecting not much of anything at all. It’ll be an age, alright. It’ll hold so much… who knows? We’ll come back and see this time next year.
For now, let’s look behind us. I wanted to get a little different in my birthday reflective writings this year because lately I’ve been giving some serious thought to where I want to settle this here life of mine. As in, settle settle. I thought I had that figured out already. It felt so known for so long. I had a plan and a timeline and a too-stern nod of the head whenever anyone asked me. But lately half of the plan appears to be smudged and the timeline is ticking by too quickly and the brow on the sternly nodding head is beginning to furrow.
I know, I know, we’re throwing expectations right out the window and apparently this is one of them. Rather than get decided about where I’m going to be, this age wants to remind me about all of those tiny nooks and not so tiny crannies that I’ve been. That make me feel like my soul is in a home place. Maybe that’ll help me solve the settle.
Captured below are 26 places that give me those soul feelings. That commemorate what it means for me to make it to the unripe, not-so-old age of 26. “Pin drops” have been provided for the specifics.
Onwards, in no particular order…
1. The Front Porch @ 42
[Pin Drops]: the wall ledge against the house, the edge before the stairs, the original green door
2. Long Lived Papasan Chair
[Pin Drops]: every turned page, every tucked leg, every grey morning
3. West Cork, Ireland
[Pin Drops]: the strawberry patch, cake crawling, Levis’
4. Pembroke College, Cambridge, UK
[Pin Drops]: Pembroke Library, the dungeon room, Brewsday Crewsday
5. On Top of the World
[Pin Drops]: Pride & Prejudice (2005), dir. Joe Wright, mus. Dario Marianelli
6. Where Orion Was Its Brightest
[Pin Drops]: my heart, and soul, and fresh air
7. Cancun, MX
[Pin Drops]: Back of the Jeep, mirror selfies with actual digital cameras, hang outs in hotel rooms where coconuts hid under the bed
8. The bar at Knights of Columbus
[Pin Drops]: paper animals, shuffleboard tables, the salty sweat smell of home
9. Liguria, Italy
[Pin Drops]: the lights, cobbled streets, architecture to steal my breath clean out of my lungs
10. Pacific Coast Highway Beach
[Pin Drops]: warm rocks, cold water, highway air
11. The Special Room @ Kings Library
[Pin Drops]: my tears, most of my tears, all of my tears
12. Boston, MA
[Pin Drops]: Northeastern, the T, the whole damn city kid
13. Kangamagus Highway
[Pin Drops]: Scottish Fest, the condo, that last Tennants up in the lodge
14. Glasgow, Scotland
[Pin Drops]: River Clyde @ the Childrens Museum, Big GG’s garden, Wee GG’s electric coal fireplace, the Genius couch
[Pin Drops]: 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42
16. Wigtown, Scotland
[Pin Drops]: hill down from the train station, bookshelves, quietness of the mind
17. Cape Town, South Africa
[Pin Drops]: bus rides, Wobblies, money, more laughter than my heart will ever know again
18. The Olympic Peninsula
[Pin Drops]: La Push (baby), Worlds Biggest Spruce, Bella Italia
19. The Old Living Room @ Euclid
[Pin Drops]: 5am, Lord of the Rings, putters under couches for Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed
20. The Attic @ 42
[Pin Drops]: animal hospital, makeshift apartment, imaginings
21. The Atlantic Ocean
[Pin Drops]: Second Beach, Ocean Drive, Ireland
22. The Night Sky
[Pin Drops]: Ursa Major, airplane windows, front windshields
23. The Upper West Side
[Pin Drops]: Museum of Natural History, Cafe Amrita, Dead Poet
24. Parker Hill Abbey
[Pin Drops]: cuddle puddles, the (6 hour?) shower, open-doored bedrooms
25. Punters Pub
[Pin Drops]: Danger Zone at #1 on the jukebox, that Bud Diesel tap, the broken booths
26. My Inside Breath
[Pin Drops]: the moors, the forest, the heart places
As always, thank you for being part of this. I guarantee you, yes you, are woven into one and / or many of the above. Here’s to many more together.