I’d like to know who decided it would be a swell idea to keep track of how many years old we are. I did try wikipediaing it (is that a word?), but as I only spent about 5 seconds trying to find an answer, the search was rather fruitless).

Honestly though, if someone builds a time machine I’m going to pay loads of money to make a trip, just so I can track down the previously mentioned individual and punch them in their nose. Unless they are a very large person, in which case I’ll bring along another large person (whom I shall also pay mass quantities of cash) to beat them up for me. Actually I’ll just go that route altogether as the only time I managed to give someone a shiner was in the 5th grade and it was accidental.

All rabbit trails aside, I’ve been in South Korea 5 months now and the best way I can summarize the experience thus far is 95% awesome, 5% guilt ridden.

Why guilt ridden you say? Excellent question astute reader. Bringing me to the main point of this post (yes, I actually have one).

I am 26 and therefore I feel like I am doing the wrong thing for my age. As though society expects something else from me than… well, than this. “This” being frittering my time away in a foreign country, doing what I want to do, just because I want to do it, and not contributing to society on a large scale OR building any sort of viable career/even attempting to build any sort of viable career. Oh and lacking a husband, kids, mortgage, puppy, etc…

People ask me (on a semi-regular basis) why I’m not married… as if I forgot to put “husband” on my grocery list and ought to pop into the nearest market and remedy that. “Oh yes! I hear they’re having a sale on the purple package husbands this Tuesday! OH and look, I’ve got a coupon! Lovely! I’ll get right on that!”

It’s not that I am against marriage, or family or having children (though I was fiercely opposed to the idea for a good while, I’ve grown out of that). I’d actually love a family. I think family is important. I admire my friends who ARE married and are building families. It’s just I’m not exactly in control of making any of that happen now am I? And don’t even think about mentioning mail order brides or I’ll send previously mentioned big dude to clobber you.

So… once again… I’m 26, not married (or about to get married), no career aspirations and I’m in a foreign country doing absolutely nothing to remedy that.

But really, is that so bad? Is it? If it is why? Can anyone explain it to me? Why do I feel guilty? I… don’t… know! It’s driving me bonkers!

I think some of it may have to do with growing up in church my whole life, where, let’s be honest, a LOT of emphasis is put on things like “changing the world,” “purpose, purpose, purpose,” “how to be special,” and “if you haven’t gotten my drift too bad because I’ve run out of things to put in quotation marks.” So the fact that I haven’t exactly done anything significant in the world might be contributing to that guilt factor.

And I do think it has to do with my age. As though 26 means something… or is attached to an invisible checklist of sorts, which I’ve left suspiciously blank. But whose checklist is in my head?

Who decided we should be or do or have certain things at certain ages? I mean, I understand that some of it make sense (i.e. I’m too tired to come up with any examples at the moment so use your imagination). But along with this list of what we should do or be or have, we also seem to determine there are things we should stop doing or having or “being.”

And it’s that list which concerns me. I feel, perhaps, I’ve reached the age where I’m supposed to have an idea about… well about something! Anything, really! But I haven’t an idea about ANYTHING. If anything I’m more confused than I’ve ever been in my entire life. Even more than you are about this truly weird blog entry.

The funny thing is even if I wanted to follow this odd, non-written list of sorts that is infuriatingly and mysteriously emblazoned in my brain, I have no idea how. I am here precisely because I was tired of working a job I hated while waiting to figure it out. Whatever “it” is.

So I’m done. I’m done feeling guilty. To hell with society and unspoken checklists and age requirements and dinglehoppers… (oh wait never mind, that was from “the Little Mermaid”)… but yes to hell with the rest of it!

I have no idea what I’m doing, or what’s next. I have no plan. I am okay with that. I come home after work and paint silly pictures and make animals out of clay, and put solar systems on my walls. And write silly songs and stupid blog posts. I don’t really think it matters if I figure out a career. I think what matters right now is if my students know that I love them. So that’s all I’m going to focus on. And actually, I think that’s a pretty good focus.

There are three hundred and sixty-four days when you might get un-birthday presents … and only one for birthday presents, you know.” — Lewis Carroll, “Through the Looking Glass”

“A very merry unbirthday
To me
To who?
To me
Oh, you

A very merry unbirthday
To you
Who, me?
To you
Oh, me

Let’s all congratulate us with another cup of tea
A very merry unbirthday to you

Now statistics prove
Prove that you’ve one birthday
Imagine just one birthday every year
Ah, but there are 364 unbirthdays
Precisely why we’re gathered here to cheer

A very merry unbirthday
To me?
To you
A very merry unbirthday
For me?
For you
Now blow the candle out, my  dear
And make your wish come true
A very merry unbirthday to you.”

Alice in Wonderland