Today I am officially one month away from my 25th birthday. All year, I’ve been ranting and raving about turning TwentyFINE and it wasn’t until yesterday that I began to realize the magnitude of just what turning 25 actually meant. Aside from this being my last year of free health care and dental coverage (thanks Dad), this also marks a milestone I feel that I’m not even prepared for. Those closest to me know that I have lived by an inflexible 10-year plan and they also know how earth-shattering things become when my plan is thrown off course. There are so many things I knew I’d have accomplished by twenty-five and none of those things are even close to happening this year let alone next. Since turning twenty-one, I’ve been getting a bad case of the birthday blues. But for some reason, this year feels particularly different from all the others.
Yesterday I shared a memory on my Facebook from last year about not believing that I was really (then) turning 24 in just a month. Looking at that memory and all the others – 17th birthday, 18th birthday, 20th, 21st, 23rd, etc., my heart began to run a race in my chest. All of a sudden, I could feel it beating out of my body as I felt my anxiety kicking in. I tried to swallow the feeling and drown my thoughts in the sounds of Tupac’s “Krazy” but to no avail. So I sat there on the train, lost inside of my mind confused about where I was headed.
By twenty-five, I knew I’d be a homeowner, be in a committed relationship, and on the road to marriage and motherhood. My career would be secure, and I’d be well on my way towards retiring from corporate life and transitioning into my non-profit. Well, here I am a month before my birthday, still cooped up in the same room I’ve been in since age 12, casually dating here and there with kids and marriage nowhere in sight. I feel like a hamster stuck on a wheel watching everyone else grow into who they are meant to be while I’m here changing backgrounds but still on the wheel. Another issue plaguing me is realizing that I’m no longer the youngest in the room. Back in my younger days (18/19 years old – seems like an eternity ago) I was full of this fiery ambition and was often commended for being the youngest and one of the brightest in the room. I’d write letters to record labels and mail in my resume on a bi-weekly basis without hesitation. I learned to go alone to networking events, and even was fearless when it came time to sneak into Jay-Z’s office building (yes, this really happened). But now, too many years have gone by where life has sprinkled water on to that girl so much so that now she’s turning into the very safe and very boring individual she said she’d never become.
My intent wasn’t to make this rant as heavy as it is, but this is just how I’m feeling at the moment. I know that I’m on the path I’m meant to be on, that I’ve accomplished so much already (or so I’m told) and that I have my whole life ahead of me (ugh) but it still does not seem like enough. I’m not satisfied with where I am right now, and turning twenty-five in this midst of this dissatisfaction isn’t helping any. I’ve talked to a few friends today and they’ve all told me that I’m being exceptionally hard on myself and that I should consider focusing on the things I have done instead of what I haven’t done YET. Today was just one of those days, but I realize they’re right. Over the next month I plan to reflect on what I have accomplished this year and prepare to embrace all that this new milestone has to offer.
I know that there many other millennials out here freaking out about getting old and not being where we think should be, but I’m learning to trust the journey. That where I’m at is where I need to be. Things will work out exactly the way they are supposed to and will not always go according to our plans. Until then, all we can do is sit back and try to enjoy the ride.