26…

I’m trying desperately to make it through another day at the office day job with my back, pelvis, hip and head hurting like I just beat myself up on a 50-mile bike ride or something to that effect. The actual cause? Stress and a couple trips to the chiropractor.

Yikes. So 26 is considered young, right? I’m feeling like I’m aging already, and can’t remember a morning when I woke up without my neck killing me or my whole body feeling as stiff as a board. I think the subconscious pain is dwelling in the back of my head, whispering sweet nothings and draining my energy source like a tap on a sugar maple.

I try to get out and walk about twice a day, and up until about a week and a half ago, I was jogging a couple times a week. Nothing like my crazy college days, but enough to feel like I am in decent, flexible shape. Now I feel like I can’t move right about 70% of the time. Am I already on the downhill slope?

It’s kind of sobering to consider that if we’re not green and growing, we’re ripe and rotting. Or as John McCrea (Cake) croons “As soon as we’re born we start dying, so we might as well have a good time.” Jenny (Redmond) Cambron once told me that the nerve endings in our brain solidify at 26-27, so that is the point that we fully realize our mortality. Hence the reason we all do young, dumb things like ski jumping and skateboarding, flips off diving boards and signing up for the military BEFORE that happens. Now I’m terrified to go downhill skiing or even climb trees. I’m too tall and gangly and might hurt myself.

So here I am, at the apex of my twenties, youthful for the last time, noticing that a sleepless night leaves circles of transparent, lined and somewhat frail-looking skin around my eyes. I’ve got WAY too much work to do to be getting this tired this young. I think it’s time for massage therapy and bath salts. Beauty sleep. I’ll certainly not make the cover of the Rolling Stone at this rate. Maybe I’m just tired today. Maybe I just have a show tonight and am feeling like I want nothing more than to take some kind of painkiller and drift off to sleep with the new Hawaiian Breeze floor fan Breck bought me blowing on my face.

Young is starting to feel old. I think too much. Luckily, I’ve been told that the types of things that cause me so much anxiety in my twenties (the constant driving desire to succeed, please everyone and never let a soul down) subsists in my thirties. However, most of this stress is in my head, and I’m already an “old soul.” I’ve been like this since I was ten, so if most people start having this type of anxiety in their twenties, doesn’t that put my somewhere in my late thirties in “soul years”? It’s not letting up. I worry that I might not be the person everyone thinks I am. In fact, I now know I’m not. Luckily, I know I’m the person God knows that I am, and I have to learn to be content with that. At least someone knows me and still loves me. I’m afraid I might fall apart anyway.

Dwelling on things seems to be a favorite pasttime of mine lately, and it’s driving me insane. I then get really upset about the fact that I’m upset about things. This does absolutely no one any good whatsoever. Someone please tell me this is a phase?! Maybe it’s all the change that has happened in my life this year. It probably doesn’t look like that much from the outside, but on the inside I feel like I just walked into a new life. Everything that happens takes me a process of processing, whether consciously or subconsciously. I seem to try to understand why EVERYTHING happens rather than just enjoy the experience and let the chips fall where they may. This is very energy-consuming. I also tend to get suspicious and sensitive about everything, or take things personally (those of you who deal with the brunt of this, consider this another roundabout apology…I appreciate your patience). I have a hard time believing and trusting much. Maybe I am going through some sort of time period of human growth and development. Maybe I should take a class. Or study for a CLEP exam. Psychology should explain me, right?

Okay…so enough is enough. I’m not whining about looking old, but rather feeling older than any person my age should. Perhaps all that over-analyzing and thinking ahead in my childhood and teens is finally catching up with me. Anyone know where the Fountain of Youth might be?

KLS