So another year has come and gone, and I turned 26 on Sunday. Now, I’m not one of those women who get anxious about each coming year, worrying about visible effects of aging – although at 26 I’d be anxious to discover any at all! – no, what worries me is that the older I get the more banal my career as a writer becomes.
I was a precocious child, always reading beyond my age level and as a writer I enjoyed that it gave me access to higher levels of vocabulary, subject matter and depth in even the sillier pieces I wrote as a teenager. I decided that my goal in life was to become a published author by age 16.
Needless to say that didn’t happen. As I got older I kept moving that significant age; if I couldn’t be published at 16 then maybe 18, 21, 25. Now I’m 26, and I find that I’m on the wrong side of my twenties to maintain these milestones. Who cares if a 30 year old gets published? It’s banal and unremarkable.
So I’m trying to convince myself it doesn’t matter, which obviously it doesn’t in the real scheme of things. In terms of the big picture, it’s the writing itself that is important, blah blah, yes I know. But you tell that to the 16 year old who was determined to be a published author and wanted to stand next to her idols, authors three times her age, with her chin up going, “Ha! I’m as good as you!” She’d have kicked your face in, and with the kind of massive gothic boots I used to wear back then you would have been lucky to escape with your life.
In hindsight, however, I wasn’t as good as the published authors I idolised. My writing at 16 read pretty much exactly like the writing of a 16 year old, albeit a very smart 16 year old, I’ll give myself that. And I know I’d rather be a good writer than merely a young writer, only published for the novelty of age than for the quality of the writing (coughcoughchristopherpaolinicoughcough).
But it still feels like with every passing year I get older, wiser – and more banal.
Happy birthday to me!