I did a post last year to mark the end of my 25th year. It was a lot of fun to write, and I was in a good place when I wrote it.
This year is a little bit different. I am feeling extremely stressed under the weight of three jobs, I have been staring at a paper for three hours and have barely managed to write two pages, and the only thing that I want to do tomorrow is sleep all day so I no longer feel bone dead tired.
Last year I felt good about where I was. I was in Scotland navigating the city, enjoying the adventure that came with living overseas, and built a very solid amazing group of friends. I was planning a day full of Mexican food with one of my favorite people, Skype chats with my friends and family at home, and a night full of karaoke at my favorite pub. A relationship I thought would last the next 70 years failed, but I was in therapy and focused on making myself a better person.
I was excited for 26, and excited for what that meant for me as one year older, and one year much much wiser.
This year I am looking forward to the end of my 26th year for a very different reason.
I’m not sure if 26 was a good year for me. There were a lot of good moments, I traveled around Scotland, wrote the best piece of writing in of my academic career, and graduated, started a doctoral degree and managed to get a teaching job, but for all of the good things that I accomplished, I made some missteps and had some hiccups. I left Scotland feeling really good about myself. I learned how to reach out for help when I needed it, reconnected with old friends and strengthened my bond with new friends, and I had a plan. I had a plan for how I was going to readjust to life in the US. I was going to take my great new attitude and be Kim 2.0, a newer, stronger, better version of the girl who packed all her stuff into four suitcases and spent almost a year living in my own created version of paradise.
I came home and threw all of that out the window. I buried myself in my dissertation and did not reach out to the people here who extended a branch of friendship, I had a hard time finding a job, and I quickly dwindled my savings. I let myself fall back into old Kim habits of negativity and insecurity, and I spent way way too much time in the negative. I have let my dedication to school slide, have not tried to find the good in each of my three jobs, and often let old insecurities cloud my new relationship. I still don’t have insurance, and while I have access to therapists through the school, so far, none of them seem like a good fit.
Basically, I didn’t hold up my end of the bargain I made with myself before I left the land of kilts and haggis.
27 is my chance to start over. Tomorrow I get a clean slate. Tomorrow, I get to start over one year older, and maybe not obviously wiser, but having learned a lot about what it means to make mistakes, admit you don’t know everything, and start working on going back to being the Kim 2.0 that I started to become in Scotland.
The best part of tomorrow is that I get to spend it with my family, and it is not over Skype. I still have a mountain of work to do and two jobs to go to, but at the end of all of that, I get to have dinner with my family, and have a few drinks with some of my friends. Even my students, who more often than not drive me crazy, made me a card, brought me balloons and chocolate, and did their best to respect me today.
My mom just brought me a bowl of ice cream and cookies in my favorite bunny bowl.
This may not have been how I pictured I would spend my last day as 26, but let me tell you, that ice cream went a long way to making it better. I have hours and hours before I sleep, and have 50 years of educational legislation to sort through, but I have a belly full of cookie dough ice cream, so suddenly it doesn’t seem so bad.
As promised, tomorrow will be a fun post full of pictures of the last 26 years of birthdays….I’ve seen the pictures, trust me, they will make you laugh.
I am lucky that I have been enough to share all these birthdays…even through skype. You and Kelly were very thoughtful to born at 6:19 and 6:30 PM respectively….no middle of the night inconvenience. I love you and will be the first to hold a class up to toast.