I think that by far, this is probably the best age. We’ve all had our serious relationships, and botched experiments in the dating world- we’ve found what works and what doesn’t, (some of us latebloomers are still finding,) but we have a sense of peace. I’m not 45, ending a diabolical break-up involving Ethan Allen furniture and four kids- or a trust fund. I’m 26, and somewhat unscathed, and maybe- that makes me lucky.

Maybe I learned all the lessons early, in my fit of independent rage;  I struck out at bat to a booing crowd, I lost my voice to an anxious audience, and I put myself on a platter for overzealous tourists. Maybe in the harm done comes greater knowledge than no harm at all. If I hadn’t struck out- would I know how to hit the ball harder? If I hadn’t lost my voice, would I know how to make each note last by taking deeper breaths? If I hadn’t placed myself on a plate, would I know how to sacrifice out of love, without consequence? There’s the old instructed saying that every parent teaches their children, “If you don’t fall, you will never learn how to stand back up.”

So we stand- we’re wobbly at first, and our knees may feel like giving out. We hold onto railings and pure determination sets in- we’re part of a bigger movement, the twenty-somethings who find the words, ‘divorce,’ or  ‘seriously harmful emotional break-up’ somehow refreshing. We get each other- we know.

And this is how it goes on, isn’t it? We have armbands on- of those we’ve loved, or those we’ve lost. We meet each other in the strangest places, we rub our stories together and carry each other’s with us. Someone gets married- and then- there’s hope.

There are so many, happily sad people- the ones who don’t wonder about ripping off the band and locking eyes with those they meet. They satisfy themselves in the past, and they ache- the type of ache you can see on their faces, and in the very handshake they offer. They don’t seem to care about taking the vest of they-earned-it-badges-off, for them- it built the very character of who they were. They reclaimed the wrongs by wearing them. They found who they were in what they overcame- isn’t that life, though? Only, for everything we overcome, and the things we conquer- we’re losing the battle with ourselves if we sew those patches on. They become us. There’s no easier way to state that- we’re simply consumed by what we originally thought were are greatest assets- our powers of overcoming, our trophies- perhaps.. it’s all really nothing in the picture of what we truly want.

Maybe at 26, you sit one night, and you wonder- if everything that’s happened, truly matters- because to be honest? It’s too much to carry- my arms are full, and I don’t have room to carry anything else. I can tell you sob stories, and wet your pants moments. But what I want to tell you most of all- is that with everything I am- selfishly, I want more. To aquire, someone once said- takes dramatic sacrifice of the mind, heart, finances or spirit.  And all those things that I carry, that I carefully pasted with a smile of overcoming and triumph- need to be ripped off and put in a box for now. Maybe that’s the beauty of failure- it’s to see moments like these, for what they are- bitter reprisals of enlightenment for a sore soul. (She’s getting existential that means she’s tired.)…

But honestly? I really dig meeting people as screwed as I am. (And those who are blissfully innocent.) I’m starting to feel the weight of everything I’m carrying, and I’m starting to rip away. The burning sensation equals movement for me.

…maybe I should have that checked out? :)