On Turning 25

Warning: there are cuss words, oops

I was almost 9 years old when my mom turned 25. I remember her making jokes and saying that she wasn’t getting any older and that she was now in the “25 Forever” club. I didn’t quite understand, mainly because when you’re 9 at times being a grown up seems like way more fun than being a kid. Ah, to be that naive again.
Now that I turning 25 myself and I’m watching my friends turn 25 I’m seeing the same things being said. There seems to be a weird thing against the age 25, and I fear it has a lot to do with the generalized categories society places women into, namely the “young” and “old” categories. Now that I am witnessing it firsthand, I still don’t quite understand it. Why are we lumped into young and old categories? What about being closer to 30 than 20 suddenly makes us old and less beautiful?
In the scheme of things, 25 is still such a very young age to me. I don’t feel any different than I did last year or even 7 years ago at 18, at least physically. Yes, I’ve had 2 kids in 2 years, but that has taken more of an emotional toll on me than a physical toll.
So, what about 25 is actually scary?
That’s the question I asked myself.
I thought about how after today I will be closer to 30 than 20. I thought about how I still don’t know exactly what I want to “do” in terms of a career. I thought about everything I have struggled with in my life over the past couple of years.
To no prevail, the age still didn’t scare me.
If anything, 25 is a relief to me. I’ve had a rough couple of years emotionally and financially. I’ve already dealt with a job loss and making incredibly hard decisions like to not buy a new car to move into a way smaller home etc. Decisions that many of the people that I follow and follow me on social medias haven’t had to make, and I hope they never have to. It’s fucking rough. That isn’t me saying I’ve had it harder than anyone else, we’re all going to meet our own struggles, but there’s not exactly a handbook titled “What to do when everything Fucks up Royally.” Growing up many times we’re given a set goal: high school, college, marriage, babies, retirement.

I feel as if I think way better and think about long term decisions easier than I did even last year.
I’m more practical and definitely more mature.
I’ve met some incredible people that have truly opened my eyes and helped me expand my activism and feminism.
I know way more now about the world and people that inhabit it than I did even while in college. Honestly, I’ve learned more about humanity and being compassionate for everyone outside of college.

I feel like I actually have so much to look forward to at the age of 25.
Even though I don’t know exactly what I want to do career wise, I have a better idea now than I did a few years ago. I feel as if I can go back to school without constantly feeling depressed and confused.
I don’t know if it’s age alone or the fact that I have two kids, honestly. I can’t speak for everyone, only myself. My 25 is different from yours, yes. I just hate the lumped categories of “young” and “old.” I’m not young or old, I’m a human being. I’m dynamic and constantly changing. I’m intelligent and vibrant. I’m beautiful and inspired daily by the things I see around me. I don’t need to stop doing the things I love simply because they’re not for my age group or because I have children. My life isn’t bland. My life is fairly chaotic most days, and that’s okay. It’s pretty neat.
My life doesn’t suddenly stop here, I still have so much growing to do.
And becoming older shouldn’t scare anyone. It shouldn’t make us want to hide away or stay the same age forever.

Because what I have noticed in the time that my mom turned 25 and started dreading every birthday after that is that she grew into an incredible woman and mother, even more incredible than she already was. I witnessed her deal with major loss and taking in people, including my older brother when he was 14, into her home. I witnessed her leave a job and go out on a limb to start a business…and close that business. I witnessed her and my dad struggle emotionally and financially. I witnessed her cry and I’ve witnessed her depression and anxiety. I’ve witnessed her rise above all of that and succeed at everything she has ever done at her current job. I witnessed her age into a beautiful and empowering woman. A woman that inspires me daily as someone that is currently struggling emotionally with depression, and as a mother.
I witnessed her change while not losing her passion for life at the same time, and isn’t that what life is about in general? To somehow at least try to see the bright side when everything is crumbling around us? I know that’s easier said than done. Oh, I know that sometimes when everything is crumbling you just want to stand underneath it and let it crush you. Some way, somehow, we pick ourselves up and move forward. Maybe not at the pace that others would like, but we move. Sometimes we pace. Sometimes we backpedal a bit, but we get there eventually.

Because I know some people look at me from the outside and think I have things figured out.
I have a partner. We have kids. I must be doing something right.
I fuck up like everyone else. I have fucked up so hard a few times that I have ended up flat on my face in a muddy puddle.
I haven’t finished school, mostly because I don’t entirely know what I want to do.
I find choosing a major and career to be more intimidating than natural childbirth and raising kids.
And that’s okay. I’ve come to terms with it.

What I’m trying to say is, stop viewing your mid and late 20’s as a race to get everything “done.”
Don’t think you’re going to be alone if you’re not married by 25. Don’t think that no one will find you attractive and lovable after 25, because that is the furthest thing from the truth.
Don’t think that not being set in a career by 25 is the end of the world. My dad didn’t even go back to school until he was in his mid-late 20’s and I was a kid, and he’s stable in his career now making great money.
There’s no set pattern to life.
Some of us walk on that weird path that our society has laid out for us, and some of us wander off of it kind of step back on it every once in awhile.
I’m the latter, and that’s okay.
It’s more than okay.
I’m 25 and I am not getting old.
I’m 25 and I am not suddenly less attractive than I was 4 years ago.
I’m 25 and that’s awesome. I’ve lived a quarter of a century.
I’ve seen so much, and I plan to see more.
I’ve learned so much, and I learn more everyday.

Here’s to being 25, what a bittersweet taste it has.

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