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26 and (still) clueless

March 8, 2018 Karianne 3 min read 2 Comments

26?! That can’t be right. Let’s see. Take my birth year, subtract the current year and…Sure enough. I’m 26 years old…

How long did I blink?

Just a couple years ago I was watching Blues Clues, Barney, Rugrats, Recess, and Mr. Rodgers while eating Kid Cuisine. I fed my Tamagotchi pet responsibly. Cell phones were just becoming a “thing,” and they were tiny. But the math proves it: this month I’m officially over a quarter of a century old.

Although I didn’t like being 25—I got kicked from the 18-24 bracket and have to scroll quite a bit to find my year of birth for online forms—I don’t think 26 will be any better. It might actually be worse since I get kicked out of the “young adult” category and have to start responsibly adult-ing.

  • Responsible adults know:
  • What to do for a career
  • If they need a degree
  • Taxes, Investments, and Mortgages
  • When to open a 401k or IRA
  • If it’s a scam or an opportunity
  • Who to marry
  • What they believe

As a teen I consoled my cluelessness by thinking, “I’ll figure it out later,” but it’s later now. I’m 26 and still have most of the questions unchecked. (How many can you check off?) But the worst part about being over 24 years old is the decisions I make now affect my choices in the future, choices I can’t even see.

I was in a rush to grow up. I just wanted to be free to eat cake anytime and stay up past 9. What was I thinking?! I barely eat cake now and I still go to bed before my grandmother, but I also have to file taxes and track my calories. Blech.

Other than the marriage thing, most of my fear of losing sand in the dial comes from choosing a career. That’s a major, permanent decision! It’s almost impossible to learn a new career in your 50’s. But kids are told they can be whatever they want—and my vivid imagination embraced that challenge. I wanted to be a Veterinarian. Nah. Teacher. Nah. Air Force pilot. Nah. Graphic Designer…Oou! Maybe…Nahhh. Now I’m at “3D Animator”… For most of my life, I could choose a new career every year or every hour, but the paths are disappearing and soon I will be stuck with just one.

In fourth grade, I thought it would take me the rest of my life to graduate. “12 years?! Will I even be alive then?” Yet as a junior in high school I stared out the window and a thought hit me, “I graduate next year.”

BOOM! Graduated. Bam! College. Bam Bam! College drop-out. Freelance designer. Full-time employee—Bang!—and back to college. Time seems to move so quickly that as soon as I remember to write the date correctly, it’s a new year already.

At the risk of being thrown into the movie, I wish I could go back to 17—or at least be further along than I am. When I got my drivers license I had friends who were 26 years old, and 26 seemed like “old lady” status. I imagined I would have a husband, three kids, a promising career, and an SUV in the garage of my house in the suburbs by now.

I’m sorry for rambling on. I just can’t even…handle that I’m old enough to care about complete sentences.

The song helping me through these turbulent times is Suit and Jacket by Judah and the Lion.

Can you believe I actually went to high school with one of these guys? High school seems like another era.

I think I’m having a midlife crisis. Which means I’ll live to…actually no, I don’t want to know.

I have to ask, no matter your age, what helps you “forget about the numbers”?

Meet the author
Founder - Art Director - Animator | Website

Book progressBucket list

Karianne is the founder of Windmill Ways. She plays the cello professionally and currently works as an Art Director for a charity. Because she loves animated shows and movies, she studies 3D animation and graduated with a BFA with the unfortunate class of 2020. Her dream vacation would be just staying home, but "home" being a glamorous cabin somewhere in the mountains surrounded by forest.

Favorite band: Lord Huron
Favorite book: This Present Darkness
Favorite quote: "Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life. You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail." Proverbs 19:20-21 (NLT)

Would you like to share your story on Windmill Ways? Apply here.


  • Cathy March 9, 2018 at 11:24 pm

    When I was sixteen, I remember when older people told me I was “so young”, mentally I argued, “But it took me my whole life to be this old!” Now I am 65, and I still think the same thing. I planned to be thin, published, and a Mensa member by 30 . . . Mensa by 37 . . . still planning on the other adult goals. Don’t stress!

    • Karianne June 21, 2018 at 1:56 pm

      Thank you for the encouragement! I love how you said “but this is the oldest I’ve ever been!” That’s often how I feel. I feel like I’m not old enough yet at the same time I’m too old to be having this much confusion. I guess I believed the myth that being an adult means you’ll have things figured out.

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