26: the golden year.

by Michael King

It’s in my nature, I suppose, to pause at the milestones and try to make meaning of the journey freshly fading. So it was with 25, and so it shall be with 26. Born on the 26th, I awaited 26, my golden year, for a long time. Who would I be? How would I live?

As I welcome 27, I think I can shed some light onto these questions.

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In comparison to 25. I have made no secret of the struggles of my year at 25. I have come to think it of as my year of ‘growing through the breaks.’ The year, perhaps, that I could no longer deny the cracks within me. That I summoned deep breaths and stubborn steps and carried onward. If this was 25, then 26 was my year of moving bravely forward. I gave 26 my all, my everything. I tried new things, I held back nothing, and I worked tirelessly to keep love at the center of my actions. 26 was about taking the pen back, writing my life. No mistake about it: I’m proud of the way I lived out my golden year.

I found my magic. During 26, I embarked on the second year of my professional journey. In my work, I set out to build my staff team and residence hall community as myself, championing honesty and empathy and growth. I shared more of myself with my team, laughing with them and also letting them see my scars. In the spring, a friend and I built a curriculum designed to get students thinking empathetically about people unlike them. I set out to build new initiatives, things to bring to life and make a change. I found my magic, I think, and I charged forward after it.

I was brave. To leap after anything – be it love or a new opportunity or a lofty goal – takes courage. To be brave, to write our lives in the way we dream, takes the willingness to be a bit reckless. At 26, I did not hold back my love, my kindness, or my belief. And here’s the important part: Not every leap ended the way I would’ve hoped. At times, I stumbled, fell, and failed. But I got back up, dusted off my hands, and leapt again. This is the way in which I want to live my life. With sincerity and with courage.

I was loved. To focus on the hard parts, the failures in love and in life, the shadows, is to forget the abundance of light that danced throughout all the while. At 26, I was loved with grace and with forgiveness. Friends pointed me toward my light, and family reached out and wrapped me in their arms. My life is rife with excellent people; I have been wildly and excellently loved.

For 27. If 25 was about growing through the breaks, and if 26 was about moving bravely forward, then I want 27 to be about writing the life I’ve dreamed of living. I will not be afraid to take this magic, this courage, this love, and live a worthy story.

To those who accompany me: Thank you. Let’s embark!

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