“Happiness hit her like a train on a track, like a bullet in the back.” – Florence + The Machine
My 26th birthday is tomorrow, also known as my “golden birthday” and my “last year of my mid-twenties.” My plan for tonight is to pick up a very special birthday present at the airport. Tomorrow I have to work, but after work, I’ll be getting together with some friends for dinner at a Mexican food restaurant and perhaps do dessert/drinks afterward. On Saturday, we’re going to continue the Mexican fiesta by attending a German beer and Mexican food festival somewhere around Seoul. (Last year for my birthday, I went wine tasting in Napa. Clearly, I’m getting classier with age.)
I think it’s pretty common for people to stop and evaluate their lives every year on the day they were born: “Is this where I thought I’d be by this age?”; “Am I happy with where I’m at in life?” I am, without a doubt, one of those people.
I remember when I turned 25, I freaked out. I started doing that thing when you start comparing yourself to others’ lives and think: “Shouldn’t I be where she’s at?”; “Shouldn’t I be done with college by now?”; “Shouldn’t I be closer to getting married and having kids?”; “What the hell do I want to do with my life anyway?” I guess you could say that my Quarter Life Crisis was in full effect.
I’ve been thinking a lot about 25 and how much I’ve changed and grown up in the last year: I finally graduated from college; I moved out of Sacramento for the first time ever to a country I had never even been to before; I started my first Big Kid Job; I fell happy in love; and I’m now in my first serious relationship.
Where I am now in life at 26 is nowhere close to where I saw myself 10 years ago. Sixteen-year-old Gina thought she’d major in Photography, be done with college at age 22, get married right after, and have 6.5 kids by now. Living in South Korea? Teaching English? Still not married and no kids? No way, not 16-year-old Gina.
Needless to say, this is definitely not* where I thought I’d be at 26. But that’s ok, because I’m happy, and that’s the most important thing. In fact, this is the happiest I’ve ever been: I love my job, I’m traveling, and I’m in a happy, healthy relationship with an amazing guy. I really couldn’t ask for anything more.
Twenty-five was a great year; I look forward to what 26 has to bring.
*I’m actually glad things didn’t turn out the way 16-year-old Gina had planned. Six kids? Really?