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, the 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 upon me…I CAN’T DIE BEFORE LEARNING FRENCH???!!!”
The cherry on top was the moment when I went out to dinner with my husband, ordered a drink, 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. So when the waiter asked me what I’d like to drink I responded with “a glass of Pinot Noir” while smiling and reaching out to my wallet to show him my ID.
“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.
Now, a year has passed, 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 time obsessing over 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 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.