Surviving a quarter-life crisis.

5

This time last year, I was few short weeks away from turning 25 and I was freaking out about it. Big time. Even though I was (and still am) in a very happy place in my life, there’s something about the number “25” that made me feel incredibly frightened.

The closer I got to turning 25, more panicked I became. The funny thing is though, I didn’t miss being younger. I didn’t miss my college or high school days. I didn’t miss living “at home”, I didn’t miss being insecure and afraid of what other people will think of me. I didn’t miss having to go through those horrible anxiety attacks whenever I was put in an unfamiliar setting or situation. I loved my life the way it was (is).  Yet, I still fell into this funk, and felt depressed for weeks, hoping that everyone would forget my birthday, we would all pretend that I’m still 24 and all would be well in the universe.

Why did I find turning 25 so scary?

I’ve always thought that by this age, I’d have it all figured out. I thought that those days of self-doubt and self-consciousness would be gone by now. I thought that I would no longer feel the occasional need to “fit in.” Realizing that I’ve already lived through a quarter of my life was terrifying (although I do have to say that science seems to take us by surprise each day with its awesomeness, so who knows, by the year 2050 someone, somewhere, might just figure out how to make me look and feel like a 20-year-old again).

Then, of course, there is the never-ending game of comparing yourself to others: “but she’s my age and she’s already traveled half the world”, “but she’s my age and she already has kids, she’s gonna be that cool, young mom…”, “but she’s my age and she speaks seven languages, I’ve always wanted to learn French….. but I’m already twenty-five… I’m so busy…… when am I going to find time to learn French? Oh no… death is near…I  CAN’T DIE BEFORE LEARNING FRENCH???!!!” The cherry on top was the moment when I went out to dinner with my husband, ordered an alcoholic beverage, and wasn’t asked to show my ID to verify that I am, indeed, over the legal drinking age. That was a first for me. Now, my baby-face is something that I complained about for years, but I have since learned to appreciate it. No. Scratch that. I don’t really appreciate it; I take serious pride in the fact that I look like a 12-year-old without makeup. So when the waiter asked me what I’d like to drink I responded “a nice, big glass of your house Pinot Noir, please”, while smiling and reaching out to my wallet to show him my ID. “Right” he responds “.. and for you, Sir?” he turns to my husband. He walked away, as I was sitting there, my driver’s license still in my hand.  “OH MY GOD, I’M OLD!”- I thought.

It took some time, but I finally realized that my life didn’t really change a whole lot since I turned twenty-five. I realized, that my fear of getting old was irrational. I realized that just because I’m twenty-five, doesn’t mean I can’t spend an entire day crying and cuddling with my dog on the couch, whenever I feel sad. I can read Harry Potter books for the 253547th time, and not feel guilty about it. I can still jump up and down when something awesome happens to me, and I can still stomp my feet whenever I feel angry or frustrated, just like I did when I was 13, got caught reading Harry Potter in church and was asked to put it away. I can still act silly in public places whenever I hang out with my sister, knowing that all those strangers looking at me must think I’m crazy.

Now, a year has past, and I’m only two weeks away from turning 26. What I’ve learned this past year, is that growing old is a pretty awesome thing, but only if you don’t spend too much thinking about it. Don’t compare yourself to other people, don’t compare your life to theirs. We’re all different. we all come from different backgrounds, we all might have different values, different ambitions and goals. What’s important to me, might not be important to you, and vice versa. Do your best not to judge. Make sure that you give nothing but love, to everything that you do, and everyone that you meet. Learn how to forgive, but at the same time, don’t ever take shit from anyone. Don’t let others tell you what you should or shouldn’t do with your life. Listen to your heart. Know that making mistakes is okay- it’s the only way to learn. Try new things- especially things that scare you. As often as you can- it’s the only way to grow.

Lastly, if you’re not familiar with it yet, listen to this speech- it’ll be some of the best advice you’ve ever gotten:

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  • Oh wow Paula, I know I say this an awful lot but I’m so, so very beyond proud of you. This post is so unique in the sense that I can’t imagine anyone else covering such a meaningful, relatable topic so well, written (like all yours posts) with so much truth and sentiment. Straight from the heart. The photo of you is so perfect for this post, looking so fiercely beautiful in your pretty floral crown, ready to conquer the world better than so called Queen Bey ever could hehe ;) Your first ootd post was so, so stunning so “you”, that I’m so glad you’ve posted another stunning snapshot for this post.

    I definitely related to you so much whilst reading this. I found turning 25 quite frightening. I don’t know, I wish I could rewind back to last summer because I felt so super confident and happy in my life, and also about my blog, my book, everything. Now I just don’t know who I am anymore, what to blog about, what to write. I want the old “Sophie” back, but the old Sophie who has learnt from so many mistakes and is now a better one. Obviously turning 25 isn’t really relevant, I could be saying this at any age, but I definitely think like you noted it’s the worry of having things figured out, the dangerous ways we compare ourselves to others and in this day and age when everyone seems so successful and super sorted, it only makes us feel worse. That’s why your wonderful words are so relevant and speak such volumes, especially in your last paragraph. And about French, I don’t know, I think if you strode into the Parisian Sephora they need to be stepping up to you in English, as damn girl you’d be the most stylish thing they’d ever have seen :D Haha, so don’t you worry ;) :D Seriously, I’m going to try and live by your words of wisdom as they are beautiful and should be noted! And I’m gonna watch the speech now, I’m already agreeing with the sun screen part!

    I look up to you, love and respect you more than any other girl in the world and I can’t tell you how much admiration I have for you in everything you do, every amazing achievement you’ve accomplished and all you’ve overcome with such bravery, boldness and brilliance in your 25 years. I think 26 sounds like a really good age, not as much of landmark as 25, instead something positive to look forward to. I know you like to keep things low key love, but I hope your birthday brings with it a year of happiness, love, success and positivity for you. It’s the least you deserve in life. My beautiful soul sis!

    Love you Paula, to the stars and back <3

    Sophie | soinspo xo

    • I can never, ever, ever thank you enough my Love for all those kind words you always leave me with! I’m so happy to know that you’ve found this post relatable! Hitting “publish” was a bit hard for me, as this is a bit personal and it might even seem a bit dramatic, but I can’t help but feel how I feel and I know that I’m not the only one who feels this way about getting older, 25 being such a significant number and all.

      I know I told you this quite a lot in our skype and email conversations, but I really know how you feel. I feel lost and overwhelmed at times, not knowing what to do. Sometimes when I talk about these things to someone close I always get “oh shut up, you’re already married, you have it all together, don’t complain” etc. But there is so much more to life than that and I think that it’s a lot better to acknowledge the fact that we all sometimes feel stuck, or scared about the future, but the important thing is to stay strong and not spend too much time thinking about the past OR about what’s to come and just move on. Age ain’t nothin’ but a number :D :D :D.

      You are one the best, smartest and most beautiful people I’ve met and I’m so incredibly happy to have you in my life! Never, ever- not even for one minute- forget how incredibly beautiful you are, both inside and out! I LOVE YOU MORE!!!! :* <3 <3 <3

  • Wonderful words, dear. ^^
    Have a beautiful weekend…

  • Lovely post, super awesome to read! and the video is so inspirational for me… especially as a 17 year old. To stop worrying about yourself and start looking outwards to everyone else. Beautiful! thank you for sharing :)) Grace x
    http://www.morethanexist.co

    • Thanks so much Grace! That speech is definitely awesome, one of my college professors played it for us in class once and I always like to listen to it once in a while ;)

  • love this post.. so original and touching.. I’m 26 and making the of it.. stay happy and goodvibes all the way..

    XOXO,

    http://www.fashionerza.com
    I can rock any outfits, come follow my online diary

    • Thanks so much Nerissa!

  • nicole

    Lovely! XO

    Nicole

    Evolution of Glam