26

Another year older, another year wiser?

Turning 25 seemed monumental and I suppose it was! I finished a Master’s degree, I found my best friend, I discovered my inner goof, I started putting a home together, I became a puppy-mummy. In so many ways, I truly crossed the threshold of adulthood while meandering through 25. As I turn another year older, there is so much to reflect on, so much to learn from, so much to share, so much to teach—all these lessons and thoughts root themselves in my mind, reminding me of all that I should be thankful for. But everything in between that milestone and the rest of my life seems rather indefinite. I mean, what’s 26 supposed to feel like?

When I was younger, I created this image of myself at the age of 25 for what a happy life would look like–a husband, a family, a job and a bunch of house keys. In hindsight, all these hopes and expectations were merely a foolish illusion, far from the reality we should dream of. A reality that makes you happy, no matter your age and expected achievements. This image was created to meet society’s basic standards of a happy life, and 15-year-old me belived that to be my reality too. Boy, am I glad my life is all but that. Not because I don’t believe in these milestones but because I think one should discover what makes them happy on their own timeline.

I have been lucky to have the luxury of free will. To be able to experience moments of eternal joy and exceptional adventures. To find happiness not just in being a wife or a well-paid professional but in small things: in exchanging a smile with a stranger, in wandering in a new town, in the corners of cafés, in a second-hand bookshop, in a grocery shop aisle, in raising puppies, in a line in a book, in a conversation. Happiness doesn’t lie in following the norms, it hides in small things. Life and following norms are what happen when you’re busy making other plans.

This last year has seen so much change, between homes, relationships, places. The biggest lessons I learned as I evolved through 25 was to let myself grow from each of these experiences and to not be scared of being uncomfortable.

And that is what 26 and the rest of my life is meant to feel like: finding joy in the journey, living for the out of the ordinary.

Photo by Sheelah Brennan on Unsplash.