I turned twenty-five today.
I didn’t mind the number too much until Garrett pointed out at lunchtime that I’d been on the planet for a quarter of a century. Why did that particular wording make me feel ancient? Even more troubling, why did it make me feel impotent?
I hid in my cubicle for the remainder of the afternoon, pondering the life I had lived until now.
Did I believe I had lived each day thoroughly? No, after overhearing Heidi holding forth in the break room after many an adventure-packed weekend, I definitely couldn’t claim that I had.
Had I grabbed every opportunity that been offered? No, I’d been convinced by an inner dialogue not to reach too far beyond the familiar.
Could I be proud that I’d been in command of where I’d been and what I’d done? No, I tended to try to make other people happy, and that need to gratify had herded me more than once down a path I’d rather not have taken.
I did not like what I found in the examination of my initial quarter century. Without fail, I had done what had been expected of me. I had not rocked the boat. I had not created conflict. I had not incited worry. I had not provoked excitement. I had merely been.
In that moment, I vowed to approach life, MY life, with a different attitude. If only I had an indelible reminder of that pledge to break free from the predictable routine I’d formerly permitted…
Garrett appeared over the top of my cubicle, joyfully offering a chocolate cupcake while brazenly murdering the time-worn birthday melody.
“Thank you, Garrett. Hey, I’m going to get a tattoo tonight, wanna come?”
You could have knocked him over with a feather and I’m willing to wager he won’t be the only one left with mouth agape in the next quarter century.
Hee hee! I took some liberties with this one, in my classic overachiever style. The original prompt from The Daily Post was a challenge to choose one letter of the alphabet to omit from my post, using only twenty-five letters instead of all twenty-six. I decided while I was at it, I’d also make the theme of the story twenty-five, and use twenty-five sentences in its telling. This post-script excluded, can you tell which letter I omitted? (Hint: I did not take the easy road by choosing q, x, or z.)