Five years and two-hundred-sixty-one blog posts ago, a woman declared she was 20. She spoke of magical maturity which a number now granted her: she was twenty, and thus a most credible post-teenager.
Now I’ve lapped that young woman by five, and she has molted into dust as I have aged in her place, stretching, scarring, creasing, slanting, straining, distorting her skin and organs. By weathering her form, I’ve only meant well wishes, exchanging her pristine condition for pieces of experience.
I am her cells worn and repaired, the heir to her existence. Her mind waxed and waned within her skull’s frame and her neurons had quite some nerve. Although we have merged into one meta-me, I can’t quite figure out: who is the superior? The 20-turned lass, for she is much fresher, or the 25-tagging me, for I am more aged?
The scientists warn us that at 26, our brain is fully formed, its development completed. But my mind can’t materialize what this means: what happens once my brain taps out?
For 25 years, has my brain been squirming and squeezing in my skull, contorting with each cough? Reshaping with each friendship? Twisting with each terror? Does my brain look like a pretzel, most malleable by each moment?
And next year, on my birthday, when I hit that year of 26: do suddenly my thoughts become fixed, my opinions inflexible? Will my brain, mid-stretch, finally freeze in its fickle forms, as though captured in a candid?
It sounds much to me like a dire deadline, a cutoff I must be careful to meet. I don’t have much time left now, only a year to create a brain to revere!
If that’s the case, the timer has been set! I’ll cram my cranium with calculus and stuff it with science! I’ll exercise every evening, and heap on the history! I’ll perfect my posture, diligently design my diet, and I’ll kickstart my career and fine-tune my French! On the weekends, I’ll learn loads of words, and if I’ve got time, I’ll pick up piano and pore over politics! Therapy will be on Thursdays, to bargain away my baggage!
Then, in a year, when the clock cries and time is up, my brain will be its optimum and I’ll be set for life. After that, I’ll cross my arms and recline back into my couch, sighing with contented ease as my brilliant brain with leisure solidifies its contents, and from there, it will never change, perfected in its pretense.
When I was 20, I had answers. Now I am 25, and I have questions.
Growing up is about being wrong, changing your mind, contradicting your past. Taking your time. Dawdling during the day. There’s a point we hit when our youthful sprint slows and we realize, what are we rushing towards? Why can’t ‘right now’ be enough, for now?
Tomorrow is hard work, but today is even harder work. Tomorrow is full of promises, but today is whatever peace you need.
I can no longer do twenty things at once, only ten at most, but five on average—breathing and blinking are enough to keep me occupied on their own.
My opinions are also worth far less than they were when I was 20, although when we account for inflation, they’re worth more because they’re less frequent to come by.
And where I was bitter before, I am now only a deep inhale and a hearty exhale.
But what would have these past 5 years been without Slanted Spines? The blog which you read now (so thoughtfully, might I add) has grown along the way with me, a fourth of my own age now.
A young woman at the ripe age of 20 created a WordPress account with nothing more than a whim to publicize her writing. Her mother read her entries and she committed herself to a weekly Friday post. This ridiculous written rambling entitled “25” is merely my tribute and my thank you to all that has ensued, including you, including me.
This blog has been the biggest blessing and a leviathan of a lesson in disciplined deadlines. It’s kept me writing during my weakest weeks and accumulated a beautiful community.
So thank you, in earnest, my friendly reader. Happy continuation day to you.
Watch my tribute to 25 on my YouTube channel, “25 Books I Love”: