Growing up, 25 was always a daunting age to me. I remember thinking that that was a "real adult" age. In other words, that I would have it all together by 25. My 25th birthday is coming up at the end of February, and unfortunately, I can't say that the notion has totally faded.
I've found that this intense internal and external pressure to succeed is actually quite common amongst my peers. In fact, studies have shown that growing up in the age of social media has made us Millenials more vulnerable to pressure that leads to depression. If you're reading this and you're a Millenial, I know that this isn't surprising to you either. I have to say that the familiarity of scrolling through social media and experiencing a general feeling of anxiety from the sight of everyone else's general life success is too real. I mean, LinkedIn is basically a social media platform to brag about your career.
All this being said, I've also learned by listening to my peers' similar anxieties and concerns, that we all need to take a step back and get a little perspective. As cliché as it sounds, happiness isn't measured in this supposed success that we all chase. I'm walking into 25 in a couple weeks, and I will continue to challenge myself with my goals in mind. But I am also grateful AF that I've made it to 25, and for all of the wonderful experiences that I have had in life. Everyone's journey is different, which is something to celebrate.
As a present to that younger version of myself, the joke is on you because at 25 I still look and feel like I am 15 years old most of the time. Here are some of those silly expectations we all had about what growing up meant as children.
1. A disposable income.
What's a savings account again??
2. A new car.
At least there's Uber and Lyft now, right?
3. No roommates.
Having a kitchen and bathroom to yourself officially means you've ~made it.~
4. Or a house.
Welcome to our home.
5. An undergraduate, or even graduate degree.
College isn't for everyone, so stop making people feel like it is.
6. A 401k.
At least I enjoy having a schedule!
7. Start my own business/empire.
If only binging TV was a business...
8. Or my dream job.
"So what do you do for a living?" is definitely the official nightmare question for twenty-somethings.
9. Being engaged or married.
10. ...to Leonardo DiCaprio.
Still waiting for him to text me back...
11. Be Illinois' youngest ever Poet Laureate.
There's plenty of time for writer's block.
12. Receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
I definitely don't have the answers.
13. Travel the world.
I mean, it's basically the same thing...
14. Be able to treat my loved ones to those vacations.
Let's be honest, I can't even afford to pay for the squad to go to Wisconsin Dells.
15. Know how to cook everything.
Okay, so I can follow a recipe. Doesn't make me a chef.
16. Be a Prima Ballerina.
Actual footage of me at my last dance performance in high school.
17. Own as many puppies as I want.
I am in no shape or form ready for any of that responsibility.
19. Win an Oscar.
Equal in worth.
20. The ability to always properly express my emotions in a mature way.
21. Be a financially successful artist.
Let's not talk about it...
22. Have amazing confidence.
It's a work in progress.
23. Gotten rid of my anxiety.
Okay, so that's never going away. Some days are better than others though and you can definitely learn to control your anxiety in that way.
24. Figure out a healthy way to balance work, friends, family and my own wellbeing.
I think this notion might actually be an illusion.
25. Grow to my full potential.
If I grew to my full potential at 25, life after that would be pretty damn boring.