Living A Through-Composed Life (A Short Birthday Reflection)

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Me at age 14 with friend, Esther. (2000)

I’ve always been anal. I’ve always liked there to be a time and place for everything, and I can get frustrated when things don’t fit together, like a song that has no chorus. There was a time in my life when a drastic shift in theme, character, or setting between seasons was enough for me to stop watching a beloved television show. And there used to be a time when I assumed the theme, characters, and setting of my life would be exactly as I had planned them out. I don’t really buy these preferences anymore, and I feel like I’m all the wiser for it.

Today I mark the big 26. What is that, late-mid 20’s? I insist it’s still mid-20’s. It’s not that I have any problem with getting old—it’s just that life feels so new this year that I prefer the “younger” framing. Twenty-six isn’t really “big” or “the”-worthy either, but this birthday feels significant, because it’s my first in a new era of my existence.

Last year at 25 should have been significant. A perfect square, a quarter of a century. But who cares about numbers?I was unemployed and living in complete uncertainty for what my future held. Boy was I surprised at just what 25 would bring with it.

Now I have a job! I’m living on my own! And I’m part of a big city for the first time in my life. And that job? Totally not what I thought it would be. I wrote back in March that this new life course made little sense to me when compared to my previous life plan, and I’m still not sure it does. But it’s the path I’m on now… and it’s just peachy.

So here’s a little thought on the passage of time. Whatever comes next doesn’t necessarily have to have anything to do with what came before. As individuals, we are the sum total of our experiences. The world presents us with a whole lot of dots and our lives are what connect them. When we die—or at any point along the way—we can look back and measure our lives not just by the quantity of our accomplishments, but by the tapestry we wove, the picture we unknowingly drew.

It’s pretty cheesy and platitudinous, I know. But that’s just where I am with things. When you let go of all those certainties and expectations society provides, life is a whole lot more exciting and surprising.

So cheers to living life as a rhapsody and dropping glitter on all those strophic codgers.

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