In less than two months, I will be turning 25. I will have officially been on this Earth for a quarter of a century….cue the quarter life crisis.
According to the ever trusting Wikipedia, a quarter life crisis “is a period of life ranging from 20s to 30s, in which a person begins to feel doubtful about their own lives, brought on by the stress of becoming an adult.” While I don’t think I’m having a full-blown quarter-life crisis where I’m doubting EVERYTHING in my life, I am being hit with new questions and realizations every day about turning 25 and what it means.
When I talk about turning 25 with people, I either get one of two reactions: “Oh my God, you’re so young!” or “Wow, you’re getting old!” (Insert eye-roll emoji) There are days when I still feel like I'm 22 and completely forget how old I am until I realize what birthday is coming up.
Entering “adulthood” is something that fills me with excitement, wonderment, dread and optimism all at the same time. Suddenly there's so much pressure to have it all figured out and know how to do your taxes and pick the right health insurance plan all at the time same time.
While I'm no stranger to being financially independent, my responsibilities have only heightened now, dealing with student debt, credit card debt and paying off my wisdom teeth surgery since, oh yeah, I didn’t have insurance.
These are the insights I have come to realize in turning 25 about where life is heading and what is being left behind:
I find myself in a constant feeling of limbo either feeling “too young” or “irrelevant and old.” I can feel my “college self” struggling to stay alive, yet constantly being pushed further down as time passes. I can be around people I went to college with who are only a few years younger than me and feel "irrelevant" since I don't frequent the beach bars every weekend or I don't get 300 likes on my pictures on Instagram. (But seriously though, when did everyone become an Instagram model?)
At work, there are times when I am the youngest, most entry-level person in the room. Since entering a 9-5 job, I am struck by the aches in my legs and ass from sitting down for so long all day and constantly wanting to get outside every hour for some fresh air.
I am a watcher of the clock, waiting for 5:00, or waiting for the weekend. At work, I am expected to be serious and professional, yet there are times in my head when I want to burst out laughing because I feel everything but the contrary. Gone are the days when my challenges were what classes I had to take or figuring out what to wear for chapter on Sundays. Now, it's about being on a vigilant pursuit of finding a career that is passionate, fulfilling and pays my bills.
When it comes to relationships of any kind in my life today, I am now more selective than I once was. Being in a relationship today, for me, means being with someone I want to build a future with and have as a partner, not someone who wants to waste my time or play games.
At 25, it is now socially acceptable for me to be engaged or pregnant, and I'm in the weird phase now where half of my friends are. I used to think that the friends I had in college would be the friends I would always stay close to no matter what. But it's not as easy as it once was when we were all in the same town, classes and stages of life. I've realized now that friendships, like any other relationship, take effort and work from both sides.
I no longer have time for one-sided relationships or people who just frankly DON’T care about what’s going on in your life. You have to accept that some friendships aren't meant to last forever, and it's okay to let them go, they served their purpose. Today my friend group is so spread out, ranging from my 23-year-old college best friend to my old work best friend who is 40 and married.
The thing they all have in common? They’re all people I know, who love, and truly care about me. Those are the friends worth having.
The most important things I’ve grasped in turning 25 is that you have to speak your truth and be who you are, no matter what. Be confident and brave even when you're terrified. There will be people in life who hurt you, question you, test you and think they know what’s best for you. At the end of the day, the only voice that matters is your own. Know your value and your worth and don't be scared to stand up for it.
Constantly strive to be the best version of yourself and never stop learning or trying. Define your version of happiness and know that it's not always going to look like everyone else's. You cannot compare yourself to other people- not their looks, their “likes”, not their lives.
I am thankful for every situation that broke my heart, challenged me and disappointed me, it taught me to be stronger, more empathetic and compassionate. I am thankful for every moment of happiness and joy, it taught me to be aware and enjoy the feel good moments happening every day.
Here's to the next 25!