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Now We Are Twenty-Six

I grow old, I grow old
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled
I shall wear white flannel and walk along the beach
I have heard the mermaids singing each to each
I do not think they will sing to me
– T.S. Eliot, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"

'Tis a sad poem to start what is actually a happy ramble, but I love T.S. Eliot's poetry, and I love poor old J. Alfred. And the truth is, I am too caught up in this stark world to attract the mermaid's song, even as young as I might be relatively speaking, but I will always continue to listen to their wail. I think both J. Alfred and the mermaids are lonely, and in a way they keep each other company.

Beautifully, today, I do not feel lonely, but I am in the mood for keeping mermaids company. (Whoah, that sounded suggestive! I meant to be poetic. Moving on...)

I am twenty-six today. Or perhaps sixteen-ten, I am not sure. If I were a Changeling, I'd be a Grump.

Quite frankly, I think that's silly. As Peter Pannish as I am, I think I've got quite a bit of Wilder in me left, thank you very much. I have two gray hairs and I refuse to let vanity pluck my hard-earned signs of wisdom out (because they'll just come back anyway... unlike wisdom, which can often fade unexpectedly). I think I have one for each year of grad school, so dammit, those hairs cost $32,000, and by golly I'm not throwing them away!

Ah, to hell with it. I do feel old. Which is utterly silly, because 26 is not old by any stretch of the imagination. I think the problem is I've been watching too much anime, where the veteran characters are usually no older than 23. (Yes, I've stopped spelling out ages. I can be inconsistent if I want.) But I feel old, I feel like I've done a lot, and maybe I feel a little bit tired.

But I also feel like there's still a hell of a lot ahead of me, and I feel like sometimes I can be wise auntie 'Becca (or Be-kaaaaaaa, as my niece pronounces it) and I can be a plump breasty Peter Pan and go flying once in awhile. Ah, the epiphany arises--I do not feel old, just in between. Too young to be old, and too old to be an anime character.

Enough of this silliness. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, EVERYONE! It is wonderful to be alive. I'm going to go to the mermaids now. Even if they won't sing to me, nothing's stopping me from singing to them.


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All original materials © 2003 R. Pickard