this is twenty six.

new leather jacket + what am i doing with my hands. || this is twenty six.

new leather jacket + what am i doing with my hands. || this is twenty six.

to be honest, i was a little afraid to turn twenty six. not because it feels old to me, or even because it means having the added expense of paying for my own health insurance (while also currently unemployed). i was afraid because of all the loose ends. because a lot of times, i don't feel strong enough for the life i'm living. i just didn't feel ready, i guess.

when i turned twenty five, i hoped for it to be only one thing: better than twenty four.

twenty four felt desperate. it felt like holding on, with a white-knuckle grip, to things i had, things i wanted, things i felt i had the right to fight for.

when twenty five came, i was determined. i changed my attitude, i worked hard at my job, and i fought for myself. i went to california. but if twenty four was a year of holding on to things i thought i deserved, twenty five was a year of letting go of those things i never thought i'd have to set free. it felt like learning how to be still, in the most heartbreaking way.

at twenty six, this is where i am.

(i still don't really understand what's happening.)

i woke up at 7:30. in the morning. and when my sister called and asked if i felt older, i responded by saying yes, because who wakes up at 7:30 without an alarm clock?

i met tab for breakfast and she took this photo of me showing her the earrings i was wearing.

she gave me the most generous gift anyone outside of my family has ever given me, AND she bought me waffles. i cried, and then laughed, because i had actually put on eye makeup and because what else do you do when someone gives you a gift like that?

she wrote me a note, saying how thankful she is for me, but she's the kind of friend who freely extends love and grace and peanut butter cups and i'm the one who is thankful for her.

for lunch, i met molly at my favorite sandwich shop.

here's a thing i learned (realized) at twenty five: i am a sandwich person. they are basically my love language. introduce me to a good sandwich and i will love you forever. and listen, i didn't even know i had a favorite sandwich until i had the pesto chicken sandwich from sloco in 12 south. (write this down if you ever plan to visit nashville.)

she brought me a heart shaped balloon that (unintentionally) matched the heart on the shirt she was wearing.

this is the thing about molly. she will suggest going to lunch at your favorite sandwich spot, even though you also already have plans for later, because she likes hanging out with you that much. and she will bring you balloons for your birthday (and she will make sure it's facing in the right direction in the picture she takes of you).

she is the best intern-turned-friend i didn't know i needed in my life.

after lunch, christyn met up with me and we adventured, as we always do when we're together.

we met because we worked together, briefly, and i'm thankful we experienced that (potentially awkward) situation because it brought us together. she's my favorite person to watch hulu, drink coffee at barista parlor, and explore new areas of town with.

i needed to get a postcard and i figured the cheapest place to get one would be at a tourist shop downtown. this turned out to be a great choice because the free parking is across the walking bridge, and i'm always okay with seeing that skyline.

after, we went back to 12 south and browsed in draper james, the new store reese witherspoon opened earlier this week. it was mostly to check it out and see just how expensive those clothing items are. (they're expensive.)

this is not touristy, because it's what's across from the "i believe in nashville" sign (as you can see in the reflection) but it is touristy because it's what's outside reese witherspoon's store.

i'm okay with it.

later, i went to molly's house for dinner. when asked if i had exciting plans for the night, i responded by saying yes. because staying in with a couple friends, eating red velvet cake and drinking red wine, is exciting enough.

it was the perfect way to round out a day of small celebrations with a handful of my favorite nashville people.

occasionally, i will write down quotes and lyrics in my notebook. words that aren't mine, but ones i want to remember, in thick black ink.

this is from sleeping at last's "pluto," written down in july.

i wanted it to be true, that the things i was choosing were breaking me down but also things that would build me up. in july, i wasn't sure how leaning into the hurt would lead to feeling more awake, but i kind of just went with it and trusted it would end up that way.

on my first day of being twenty six, i felt so overwhelmed with love and thankfulness, even before noon. i felt stronger and bolder and braver. like maybe twenty five was breaking pattern.

and maybe twenty six will be breaking ground.