The chill stopped me in my tracks as I raced out the front door. Maybe I should’ve worn another layer…but that would’ve thrown off my athleisure vibe. Nope, I’m good.
Within minutes, I’m posted up beside the floor-to-ceiling window of the coffee shop two doors down. I’ve got a perfect view of the room and the street out front. I can see the garden too. Brightly colored daffodils and tulips looking tense in the cold and wondering with me, “isn’t it springtime?”
My green tea is steaming, a sure sign that a sip would singe my lips with the burn of hell. I originally ordered a “green coffee,” which the baristas (and a lone baristo) found amusing. I laughed along until I realized my mistake, then I laughed harder.
I know it’s not baristo, but it should be.
There are ladies telling their love stories to my right while a felicitous tune plays in the background. To be fair, Jason Mraz is suitable for most occasions. The room is full of New York accents, the only difference I can tell between here and home. Texans don’t have accents, or, at least, that’s what we tell each other.
There’s a pretty, young mom moving quickly outside with her tiny clone, but the flowers distract her on their way to the front door. Mom patiently bends down to gaze with her tiny at the distraction, a sweet moment I don’t think she expected to have. The child smiles as she’s led up the stairs to the door. As they get closer to me, I can see the little girl’s eyes. They’re wide with curiosity, and she’s fully present in this moment, which I’m only able to recognize because I’m here too.
I’m taking in every detail, and I’m not sure why my senses are heightened. Maybe it’s the 47 minutes of yoga I practiced this morning. Maybe it’s the green coffee or the fact I’m Yours is playing. Or maybe it’s the fact that I’m only 26 for a few more hours, and I subconsciously want to soak it all in—an option I’d love to claim but cannot in good conscience.
I’m barely 26, and it feels better than I thought it would.
I’m overcome by gratitude as I think about the past year. The twenties are full of learning, experiences, disappointments and heartbreak. It’s when we acclimate to adulthood, which some of us do in a most volatile way (insert hand-raising emoji here). As we become real-life grown-ups, we try to deal with the world in ways that worked for us as children, but they don’t work anymore.
We can’t runaway from issues, numb ourselves or throw tantrums without major consequences—trust me. I’ve tried all three with pro-level variations, although peanut butter cups and grilled cheese can occasionally be called upon to do the trick for smaller jobs. At the end of it, if we’re still standing, we get promoted to the thirties, a grown-up badge of honor.
So here I am, barely 26 and fully present in a moment that’s proving to be more than enough. I’m beginning to think that this kind of presence is always at my fingertips. And if that’s true, then my only hope for 27 is for more and more of it with my people, my surroundings and myself. Presence doesn’t allow us to be anxious about the future or dwell on the past, it simply asks a question: will you join me now in the adventure, the beauty or the pain that you’re surrounded by?
For me, 27 is the year of presence, and I’ve never been more wide-eyed and curious.