on turning twenty-six

I have never had to consider how I felt about aging until recently as my 26th birthday approaches. Turning 25 was a bit nerve wrecking but I didn’t have to come to terms with it in the same way that I have 26. As of October 24th this year, I will be in my late twenties. It started to hit me in July and the realization has not left me since. I had mixed feelings about it initially until one day a few weeks ago, I came home from work crawled under my covers and begged God to make time stop; I felt as if I’d rather disappear than turn 26. But like everything, things get really bad right before they begin to get better. It was after having this moment that I realized that I have to decide for myself what aging means for me and what my response to aging will be. I think our first natural reaction to aging is hopelessness and maybe cynicism. We all feel as if we’ve made countless unredeemable mistakes and punish ourselves for them with harsh self-judgement and condemnation. We value youth as if “being youthful” has only to do with the amount of years our bodies have existed on earth. Then I began to remember all of the Queens that lye all over the age spectrum that continue to follow their dreams, dress stylishly, are silly and happy, have deep relational bonds and some that are mothers and have children on top of that. From fashion guru June Ambrose or Jada Pinkett who are in their forties and fifties and doing the damn thing, to Beyonce and Multi-Media Artist Vashtie who are in their mid thirties and continue to create and do not let the desire to follow their dreams be affected by their age, then theres Rihanna who is twenty eight and the coolest thing you ever saw. After reflecting about aging not only have I come to terms with it, but I’m kind of excited to be 26! I’ve done good for myself. Today, I’ll be taking a trip to Hawaii with one of my closest girlfriends…for the fuck of it. I live in a cute ass studio apartment, I have an epic job with an amazing boss, I dance everywhere and sing at open mics, I’m proud of who I am and continue to become, I’m following my dreams and most importantly

I’m happy.

And that’s an inside job that none of the activities above has allowed me to experience. For me, I will follow in the footsteps of these queens who’s being alone is essentially timeless. My upcoming birthday has given me an urge to make some of the dreams I have yet to make come true, true. I feel lucky for that urge.

26. I’m turning 26. And I’m excited about it.

-Amber B


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