I turned 26 at the beginning of March and man was it a game changer for me. Don’t get me wrong there isn’t anything that bad about being a year older but to me I feel like hopping from 25 to 26 was somehow an important milestone in my life (it’s nothing like turning 21 – there’s nothing that can compare to that sense of freedom).
26 is probably less of a big deal to others in terms of numerics, I mean you don’t get people coming up to you anymore with the cheesy, “How does it feel to be a quarter of a century?” line, now people say things like, “wow you’re 4 years away from 30, better start settling down”. I can already drink, smoke, vote, rent/buy a car/house which does make being 26 a little less important, on paper anyway. As the days and months pass, new thoughts start to surface about entering your “late 20’s”, which will turn to 30’s and you think about what you’ve done or alternatively have yet to do to properly live up to being an adult. That’s the moment that 26 changes your entire perspective.
It’s not all gloom & doom, you simultaneously feel older than expected but also thrillingly young and hopeful. It’s quite possibly the one age where you are still undeniably, wildly young but you’ve been young for long enough to know how valuable it is to be so. You have more respect for our youth because we’ve all been there, stressed out, sexed out and blissed out.
Here’s are 3 moments that have defined turning 26 for me;
- You will be financially responsible going forward. You’ve been through the phase of maxing out a credit card but you now understand that the fleeting joy of buying some bullshit item isn’t worth the persistent discomfort of trying to play catch up with your bills & never having money.
- Find your tribe, love them hard. People evolve and if we actually stayed friends with everyone we befriended in club bathrooms it would be an embarrassing view of our personal development. You’ll find that your group of friends is completely different to the groups you were a part of in high school or University. You’ll still have very close relationships with a handful of people who’ve had an impact on your life but its okay to let the rest of them go, because the key to finding long-lasting relationships is to find people whose life lines grow parallel to yours.
- You will have a front row seat to the spectacular array of experiences that show you just how different this age can look on different people. Some of your friends will be doing exactly the kind of reality-defying, irresponsible, drunken antics that we all did when we were 20. Some friends will be getting engaged, some will be rising to challenges, some will be making real money for the first time or exceeding expectations, or buying a house and so on. 26 can be very old or very young, depending on any number of factors. Your 26 is quite unlikely to look like someone else’s. Which is why it’s so fun.
This is no one’s beginning, and no one’s end.