Today, I will wake up to sunshine and cracked windows. I will wake up to the fresh scent of the lilacs that have been clipped and placed in vases on my coffee table, my dresser, and my windowsill. I will feel relaxed. Fresh. Excited. Happy.
Today, I will not want to get out of bed. I'll roll to my right side, burrowing under my white comforter. Burying my face into my partner's chest. Holding on. Hanging on. His eyes will flicker, and his arm will slide over me, to the small of my back. "Good morning," he'll tell me, pressing his lips to my forehead, my cheeks, my lips. Whatever is easiest. Whatever is accessible. Whatever he can touch. "Happy Birthday."
Today, I am 26.
At age five, I wanted to be a zookeeper. At age 10, I wanted to be a singer-songwriter. At age 14, I wanted to be a fashion designer. At 18, an editor. At 26, I want to be happily ever after.
Today, I will eventually and reluctantly leave my bed, and leave behind my partner. As I ready myself for work, he will pull my pillow toward himself, cradling it. Before I leave, I will whisper to him, "See you later." And then, I will be out the door and down the steps. On my bike and on the streets, pedaling. I will take the Cultural Trail to the office, just as I do every day. But today I am 26, and so the sounds, and the smells, and the sights are sweeter. So much sweeter. The smooth hum of tires on pavement. The captivating scent of freshly-baked bread. The glow of the sunrise on buildings that have yet to open.
At work, I will watch the clock and count the hours. I will be as anxious as an eight-year-old, for tonight will be my party. Is it time yet? Is it time yet? Is it time yet? I'm eager. Excited. Happy.
Today, I am 26 and young at heart.
I feel lucky, not "old."
I have been introduced to sunshine, oceans, animals, new countries, and new cultures. I've met, loved, and lost friends and family. I've experienced bliss. I've had my heart broken. I've been kissed in the rain, but have woken up to burnt toast and an empty refrigerator. I still daydream about what I want to do and who I want to be, and I wonder about all the things in this life that have yet to expose themselves to me. I wonder about the souls I have yet to met, the souls who will continue to inspire, motivate, and change me.
Because, today, I'm only 26.