It’s my birthday. I am still in Argentina and I am turning twenty-six today. Every year since I can remember, my father has asked me (and all his children), "How does it feel to be X years old?" The question was posed to me first thing this morning as I sat on the toilet. In front of me, tucked into the toilet paper dispenser, Marisa had left a beautiful card featuring a Chagall painting. It depicted a figure dominating the frame and a little man suspended in the forefront. I turned that card over and read, “¡Feliz Cumpleaños! ¿Como se siente al ser de 26?”
Sitting there, I had a minute to think. How do I feel? I thought of a birthday long ago, maybe it was my 4th, 5th, or 6th (I don’t remember). But I do remember putting on my party dress and combing the inch of hair on my head and then going outdoors to wait for friends to arrive and to ride my pink scooter. I remember taking a lot of pleasure in the sunny sky, the attention lavished on me, and the fact that the scooter and my dress were both pink.
Although I will probably no longer be seen riding a pink scooter about town, I do feel more or less the same as that young me. I got up from the toilet, brushed my teeth, showered, and put on one of my dressier outfits (clothing options are limited to what I was able to fit in my backpack). And then Marisa and I went off to celebrate the day. I enjoyed the coffee and the processions of people passing by the window carrying branches to celebrate Palm Sunday. And later, when the sun came out, I appreciated its heat on my back.
Being twenty-six is definitely older. I am well into adulthood. Still, at my core, the way I understand the world has not changed. There is a lot of living still to enjoy--sunny afternoons, time spent with family and friends, and pretty dresses. I am looking forward to it all and twenty-six feels just fine.