My blogger buddy Bill recently answered and asked a funny question: how old do I feel, compared to how old I am?
Fun fact: Chad can never seem to remember how old he is. He fumbles his birthdate every time he’s asked, without fail; most recently, at a vaccination appointment. If there was a gun to his head, Chad would still mix up the numbers and say he’s twenty…one-umm, seven and I’d have a dead husband.
Anyway, back to the question at hand. How old do I feel?
It’s hard to say. It seems more complicated than it should be.
Partly, my difficulty stems from an existential awareness that my life isn’t really supposed to be this way. My twenties are not meant to be wasted in a clump of years dominated by a global pandemic, feeling stranded and isolated and anxious and still.
I’m not totally sure what 26 is supposed to feel like, but I’m pretty sure it’s not meant to be like this.
Emotionally, I often feel like I’m 75 years old. For the aforementioned reasons, I’m tired. Sometimes, I feel like a rehabilitation center for trauma that I can’t heal, and that can add years to my emotional wellbeing, even if I’m glad and eager to help. It’s hard for me to feel genuine excitement and cheer and that inner child feels buried under layers of grief and monotony and honestly, it’s kind of really sad.
In a mental sense, I think I feel around 30 years old. I’ve always felt mature for my age, but I’m not naïve enough to believe that I have the wisdom or life experience to go beyond a handful of years forward. But let me tell you, since having COVID, I sometimes get brain fog that interrupts my train of thought and there I am again, back to 75. Thankfully, this doesn’t happen very often and I can cut through and find my way back fairly quickly.
True to my actual age, I physically feel pretty spot-on 26, though I never thought that I’d be so sensitive to dairy and gluten and sugary alcohol drinks. Sometimes it feels impossibly hard to get in shape compared to my peers, but then I remember that comparison is the thief of joy and I actually don’t know what’s going on under the surface of anyone else.
I’m working to remind myself that I’m young and to appreciate what I have and to thank my body for all it does for me. There will be a day I look backward in review, and I don’t want to regret not appreciating what I had, when I had it.
After all, my 26 years have been filled with overwhelming positivity and sunshine, too. I’ve racked up countless beautiful memories and have been blessed with privilege and a family and friends who love me. I’ve gotten married, bought a house, and have a dream dog. I have a college degree, own a business, and have aspirations within reach. I’ve been able to travel, have tattoos that I love, and get to explore the gorgeous beauty around me.
When I remember all that, I don’t feel 75. I don’t really feel 26 either. I feel a timeless sense of gratitude and hunger for more, and I don’t think we ever outgrow it if we feed it.
Thanks, Bill, for the question.