I’m officially twenty-six years old.
“You’re so young!” or “Ang bata mo pa!” is what I usually hear, which highlights the fact that I’ve been hanging around people older than me lately.
I used to be the oldest and wisest wherever I was, but lately I find myself the youngest and most inexperienced of the bunch. A feeling I used to loathe and avoid, but I’ve already said goodbye to a version of my self that peaked in my early twenties. While most people dread getting older, I think I’m one of the few that gets a kick out of it.
I’ve started sealing the gates to my castle. Unveiling a one-way mirror, a homegrown garden, a floor-to-ceiling screen, a donut-shaped couch swing, a 6×6 blank canvas with all the colors and brushes I need, and a roof that reflects the day and night sky whenever I please.
I’ve always been excited to turn twenty-six. It meant that my quarter-life crisis would be over for good.
I gave myself a deadline when I turned twenty and promised myself that it would the year I’d stop trying on different masks for fun or for show and just enhance whatever it is I already had acquired and figured out that point in time. It would be the age of transitioning back to the creative and focused introvert that I really am. The one who has always been satisfied in the confines of her room and maybe a handful of friends to create with, cook, drink, and share stories with every once in a while.
I’ve got a lot of dreams and visions that I can finally turn into reality and this lifetime won’t really be enough to accomplish all of it.
Twenty-five is the last time I worry about whether or not I am missing out on anything.
The last time I succumb to the pressure of the idea of who I should be.
It’s the last time I mess around with boys out of curiosity, experiment on whatever opportunity came my way, drink my heart out and find myself on the bathroom floor, take something that gives me a night I can’t remember, and keep friends for the sake of being polite and reciprocal.
I’m through with forcing or manipulating a friendship or any kind of relationship on anyone. It’s the last time I let my feelings and my opinions sit in silence, blame anyone else for who I am, where I am and what I have or have not accomplished. It’s the last time I surrender to my feelings, self-pity and whining.
I’m saying goodbye to my reckless curiosity and impulsivity, to impressing anyone else by being anyone other than myself, to chaining myself down to responsibilities and expectations I didn’t make in the first place, and pretending to like something I don’t while secretly adoring something no one else understands.
It’s the last time I chase my youth and the lifestyle of cool and hate my naked body for its reflection. I’m done with looking at a selfie and feeling an occasional disgust.
It’s the last time I carry and bear the illusion of success and accomplishment and the last time I judge or doubt whether or not I am Christian enough. Good riddance to thinking that someone else’s success equals my demise and the idea that I need something or someone to be content, happy and thriving right now.
No longer will I impose my expectations and beliefs on anyone, no longer will I shrink in size and trim my edges, and nor will I act on the need to explain myself or apologize all the damn time.
I love what I love. I hate what I hate. I connect with who I connect. I deliver what I demand. I push what I create.
After last year’s birthday that was spent moping on a love lost, a love not had and a harsh wake up call that I was not yet who I set out to be nor had I even really begun, I spent the rest of the year learning how to genuinely enjoy my own company without any underlying agenda except to learn to love and adore myself for exactly who I was at that moment.
Lately I’m learning that anonymity and privacy is a prize in itself.
By finally deactivating one of my main sources of distraction and keeping only a handful of people I truly want to stay connected and updated with, I feel like I’m also deactivating a persona I created that I felt like I had to live up to. Now all I’m surrounded with are people who I can comfortably be myself around and make things happen with and it feels amazingly liberating and inspiring.
I can finally work on what I love without any distractions.