Thursday, April 3, 2008

Turning 26

I feel old!

I turned 26 last week.

The other night, I woke up around 3 AM and suddenly started saying to myself, "26. 26. I am 26. That sounds old. 26 is no longer a child. 26 is no longer a girl. I am no longer a kid. I am 26. There are no excuses anymore. I am 26. 26. 26. 26. Oh my gosh. I am 26."

Why does 26 sound so much older than 25? It truly does. I have heard that there are two depressing, overwelming birthdays when you are in your twenties. The first is 22, because, as many see it, it's all downhill from there. You have nothing else to look forward to. And the other is 26...because you are, as my brother-in-law keeps reminding me, now a "Rounder-Upper." (Forget that he is six years older than I am and ALWAYS will be...)

Twenty-six. Twenty-six. Twenty-six.



I am now old enough to say, "I remember, twenty years ago..."

I have the pleasure of working with a bunch of college students right now as we prepare to produce a show I cowrote, MARGOT FRANK: THE DIARY OF THE OTHER YOUNG GIRL.

Over the past few years, being around young kids has made me feel old. The kids I work with at church refer to Titanic as a movie they have "heard of" and that their "moms love!" They don't remember the Titanic craze. They don't remember Leo and Kate's beautiful, shining faces being absolutely EVERYWHERE that entire year. But, I do. Because I am a lot older than them.

My cousin's little boy showed me his WebKinz recently. I commented, "Ah, yes...they're like Beanie Babies!" Dylan looked-up at me and said, "What's a Beanie Baby?" Children today have never heard of Beanie Babies!

And, of course, last summer somebody asked me if I was planning on seeing Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal return to Rent. I responded with, "I might go with my little cousins, they want to see it."

My little cousins, the ones I remember holding when they were babies...are now old enough to see Rent.

My gosh.

And, I learned last week that I am now so old that college kids seem like little kids.

One of our young actors wished me a happy birthday, and asked me how old I was.

I told him, "I am OLD."

He shot back, completely serious. "So am I! On my last birthday, I stopped being a teenager!"

Ah, youth.

It's not so much I am depressed about the passing years...I'm just scared that it's going by so quickly.

It is easy to look around and feel like I have fallen far behind.

I am not married, I don't have kids...(that is something that many use to measure success, for some reason. I don't. I'll get married and have kids when I find somebody I want to marry and we decide we're ready to get married and have kids...) I don't own a house, like some other people my age do. I mean, I can't even afford to move out of the family house. And if I did, I wouldn't even be able to support a beta fish, let alone children. I don't make much money.

I still don't know what I want to do. I have had three jobs since graduation, and I was laid-off from both of them. I also make less money which each job. Is this a continuing trend?

Our show is going into production next week, and I have nightmares about it every night. (The most common is that there is absolutely NO audio going on. None. In one version, some random guy in a suit turned to me and said, "Can you f-ing BELIEVE this show?")

I still get carded for Rated R movies. I could probably crash a junior prom and look younger than most of the students. I own some clothes from Limited 2 and think that there are some 12 year-olds-who are WAY trendier than I am.

And yet I am 26.

I am an adult.

And, while it is not depressing, I find it absolutely horrifying and terrifying.

At the same time, I am absolutely grateful and thrilled for every passing day. My cousin was given months to live when he was around 30-years-old. Four years later, he is still with us, and still fighting. When I thin about him, and how he just wants more and more makes getting depressed over mine seem like the most ridiculous idea in the world.

Bring on 26.

I am ready.

Diana Rissetto