Friday, July 24, 2009

This is what a 26 year old looks like....

Today I turned 26 year old and it feels so good. When I was a child I remember that I always wanted to be in my twenties and I have been loving every minute of it all. As I think back on birthday after birthday, I am drawn to my birthday 10 years ago...

My sixteenth birthday was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. My parents threw me a luau complete with a limbo stick, grass skirts, and coconut bras. (I wore a Hawaiian shirt.) I was so scared that no one would come to my party, that I passed out flyers to everyone I saw and met. People came and it was a great time. My grandfather cried when he gave me my first car, a White Ford Escort (1980's) with grey interior. I LOVED that car. and I loved my grandfather.

Now when I was 16, if you wanted to drive a car you had to have your permit for at least 3 months or you could go to drivers ed on Saturdays for a price and get your license after a mere 9 hours of driving time with an instructor. We are procrastinators so drivers ed it was. I went every Saturday for a month- ALL day. I made some weird friends and had an even weirder teacher. She gave lots of hints while we were taking the written test, I passed and mom took me down to the DMV to take my picture. It was a terrible picture(I mean like, the worst), but out of fear of having a worse one, I didn't change it until last year.

So, that next Sunday morning I woke up, got dressed, got in that White Ford Escort, drove it down the driveway and headed to church- alone. I can still remember that feeling. You know the one I'm talking about, that freedom feeling. You know when you are doing something that you are ALLOWED to do, but for some reason you don't think you should be allowed. (I'm sure some people feel this way on their wedding night.) I drove that car SO fast down those country roads and played my music so loud. It was the greatest moment of my life. My life had begun.

I stayed out all day and into the night. It took me a few minutes to figure out how to turn on the windshield wipers as it started to rain, and a few weeks even to figure out how to light up my speedometer at night. But that car was beautiful and that life was beautiful and nothing could compare to the doors that being 16 opened. I could get a job, a boyfriend, start thinking about college, stay out later, babysit, and God knows what else.

As I get ready for my 26th year, I find it out fitting to reflect on how so many things have changed, but also on how many things stay the same. I'm still a little worried that no one will be at my party, and my now car -a Ford Escape was a gift given in my Grandfather's death. I love that car...and I still love my grandfather. In a few weeks, I will load up that car with all my belongings and hit the road alone on my way to a new job, a new city, a new life. After a YEAR of anticipation, my life has begun. Nothing could compare to the doors that being 26 will open.

INTERACT: What do you remember from your 16th birthday?


Meghann McFadden said...

Not to sound too pessimistic, but my 16th birthday was not at all what I had hoped for. In short, I went with my mom to buy a new pair of shoes and she made the experience very difficult and got mad at me when I didn't like what she picked out. That night the family went out to eat in Nashville and saw "The Talented Mr. Ripley" at the movie theater. I loved the movie, but everyone else in my family made it quite apparent that they all hated it. It wasn't exactly the big 16th birthday I was expecting.

The Boyds said...

You know, I think it might have been my 18th birthday, but it was when I got my first vehicle...the Ford Ranger. It was a surprise party and I was simultaneously thrilled and mortified. Everyone was I was too shy to react, so I just ducked into the house and everyone thought I was self-absorbed and didn't care about them, but I was too surprised and excited to think of anything to say. In any case, it was a great party. My dad clipped this dangerous looking metal angel onto my sun visor that said, "Daughter please drive safely." I was always a little afraid her pointy wings would poke me in the eye if I ever got in a serious wreck, but I figured the chances of both of those occuring simultaneously were slim, so I left it there and felt a little edgy on the inside.
While my parents were getting the party together, Corey took me on an outing to the library and out to this cool little house we both liked. I loved him that day.


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