I had a stunning revelation this afternoon; I’m about to turn 26 years old.
Usually by mid-August, I’ve accepted my new age and begin telling those around me that I’m the next year older, but it was only this afternoon that it truly hit me. Year 25 passed me so quickly that I can barely remember what, if anything, significant happened to me in the past 12 months.
Much of this Year 25 has been spent in a state of perpetual catch-up. Nothing was ever clean, I was never ahead on anything, I barely found time to write and I can say I wasted many more days than I used productively. There was even a long time where I was not even wearing clean clothes. I can say that in the past week things have grown far better, but it is a little daunting to think that my 25th year on this earth was so unproductive.
Many nights were spent in front of my PC playing some inane Facebook game or simply reading article upon article on Cracked or StumbleUpon or some other time-wasting activity. Time that could have very well been spent writing was wasted by laying about in the bed all day or again, screwing around on the Internet.
I suppose my career has seen great strides, but I don’t feel as if these strides are permanent or have any significance on my life. Sure, slightly more money is coming in, but I still don’t have my Honda and I’m still deeply entrenched in credit card debt. I’m working harder than I ever have in my life and have very little to show for it. The main concern is that my life goals are going unrealized and I’m going to be 26.
26. Just saying it out loud sounds like a gavel beating on my youth.
There is so much more that I could be doing with my life and yet…
I won’t use this as a time to get depressed about what I don’t have or what I haven’t been able to do, but as this time of year is my time for self-reflection and deep thought, I find it fascinating how quickly this year has passed by me.
I think what brought this on was yesterday’s viewing of an X-Files episode. I recently bought an Xbox 360, mostly because I wanted something on which I could play Star Wars video games, but found a secondary use in the fact that the Xbox brought me downstairs and away from my PC. Up until two weeks ago, I was spending some five to seven hours a day on Facebook games and there was no end in sight. The dishes were never going to get done, the laundry had stopped piling up because I had simply taken to re-wearing clothes I had already re-worn three or four times and trash was literally building up around me because I brought all food to my bedroom in front of my PC. The pounds were piling onto my body at an astronomical rate because I could go for an entire day without moving at all; everything in my life was focused on my PC and the Internet. But, last week I bought an Xbox and finally moved away from my PC.
I did a load of laundry; it felt so good to wear an actually clean shirt instead of a clean-smelling shirt. I put some of trash into actual trashbags; I have yet to take anything outside, but that’s a subject for another day. I did something other than come home and go straight to my PC…and it was wonderful.
Yesterday, however, I managed to stream all the TV shows from my PC and tera drives onto my Xbox and I came upon an episode of The X-Files. Even though I’d watched the episode (Small Potatoes) more times than I could possibly count, there was something so alluring to view Mulder and Scully in their heyday. It was only once I came to the end of the episode that memories of my childhood spent adoring those same characters that I began to truly reflect on what I had been doing in these past few years.
In fact it was the discussion between Mulder and Scully that actually got the train of thought rolling:
Mulder: The person you wanted to be in high school…how far off were you?
Scully: Career-wise, miles off target.
In listening to this exchange, for the first time I was able to answer the question myself and I mused over the fact that I, like Agent Scully, was miles off target from the person I wanted to be when I was kid. My miles off target, however, is nowhere close to the success that I imagine I should have at this point in my life. I’m not just miles of target, I can’t even remember what the target was supposed to look like anymore.
All this notwithstanding, I can say with some confidence that I am slowly (very slowly) picking up the pieces of my life. I am doing things that I had not even thought to do in the past 9 months and, for the first time in almost a few years, I think I am moving back to some track. I am no longer wallowing in the jungles of uncertainty; I’ve found the path that leads to the bigger one, the golden brick one, the one that leads to my actual dreams for myself in adulthood.
I am turning 26. Dorienne Allison Smith is turning 26.
A side of me is terrified by the idea of turning not just a year older, but a year closer to an age when I really should have everything figured out and have my life running along a path of fulfilling my desires. Another side, however, the side that wants to have a clean house and wants to lead a normal life like, is excited. I am approaching adulthood and I think I may actually be ready for it this year.