At the end of 2019, I celebrated a quarter century here on this earth, and this birthday definitely hit differently than in past years. Turning 25 felt much more real, like adulthood was hitting me harder in the face than ever before. I came to the realization that I am entering a more serious part of my 20’s where so many big and serious life milestones are historically supposed to happen.
I’m now 25, and I am not on track for any of the ones revolving around a relationship, aka many of those milestones, aka i’m single af. Despite feeling secure in my current relationship status I could not shake the thoughts of my singleness and the countdown to “resolve” everything by 30; the pressure was on. So, obviously, the stress started to set in and an unnecessary freak out was well on its way to happening.
What it Feels Like to Turn 25 Years Old
At 25, there is no turning back or avoiding adulthood and all of the strings and bills that come with it. In fact, it only seems to be cranked up a notch. Turning 25 is like when the music starts to get really fast in Mario Kart and everything becomes blurry and stressful and you go from 1st place to last because you got hit with a blue turtle shell. That’s it, that’s 25.
What’s the Significance of Turning 25?
Turning 25 is when life starts to get f*cking real. This is the big leagues, so buckle up folks. There are overwhelming expectations being thrust at us by older generations and the media to have it all by 30, maybe 35 at best. So you’re telling me that I am supposed to find a life partner, get married, and have a fulfilling and successful career, not to mention having children in 5 years or else it may never happen??
Damn can’t a girl catch a break. Like, how can you expect me to get every single thing done in 5 years when the last three since graduating college flew by, I’m not ready for this, I’m only 25. I am more focused on trying to figure out my career, what makes me happy, and how to not drown in student loan debt. These societal expectations are outdated and do nothing but add stress while making us feel like failures if you aren’t on the so-called “right track”. Newsflash Karen, everyone is on their own life journey where no age restrictions should apply, so kindly back off.
Where Should You be at 25 Years Old?
When you turn 25 years old (or any other milestone birthday, really), It can be easy to compare yourself to your peers that may be checking off some of those boxes, especially as a female. There are just so many expectations for us, too many to be listed here, it can be overwhelming. 25 also becomes “that age” where it’s far more acceptable for people to get engaged, it’s wild.
WTF. I am not ready for that. As you get older the questions and inquiries from people about your relationship status starts to get to that Thanksgiving level pretty quick.
My Advice For Any Girl Turing 25 Years Old
Don’t Compare Yourself and Your Happiness to Others
It is important that you do not compare yourself and your happiness to someone else’s Instagram post. Stay in your lane and do you. Be like a racehorse with blinders on and just focus on you, your career, and your relationships with family, friends, and significant others because it’s the only thing you can control anyways. Your time for all of those things that you are longingly looking for will come to you when it is meant to be. Just be patient.
Embrace The Grind
I also came to realize that working is just something that I will be doing basically until I die. Cool. There is nothing else really to do when you’re an adult. Like I am expecting myself to be in an office building Monday through Friday 9-5 forever or until I strike it rich. Until then, each day on repeat just to get a bi-weekly paycheck and then spend that money on things I don’t really want to but have to because that is adulting. Obviously life is way more exciting than that but there is little to no variance, unless you make a big career change or win the lottery, in comparison to being a student.
Take Time for Self Reflection
On my 25th birthday I took the time to reflect on the past year and thought about all of the great moments of 24, but I kept finding myself gravitating towards some of my less than stellar moments. In order to squash these less than desirable thoughts that I really didn’t want to have on my special day I decided to take some action and do something new.
An Exercise I Did When I Turned 25
To cope with this milestone year, I decided to grab a pen and paper and wrote down all of the positive moments that happened during the past year and let me just say, it looked like I had a better year than my mind led me to believe. With the help of my trusty iPhone as a visual aid, I scrolled through photos taken in the past year to see what past me wanted to remember. I saw small moments that would’ve been tucked away forever, silly pictures with friends, and inspiration pictures that brought so many smiles to my face as I repeatedly swiped my finger down.
This exercise highlighted all of my accomplishments, the times I’ve laughed so hard I couldn’t breathe, amazing food, music that made me stop for a minute and truly listen, and the breath-taking views experienced in the past year. Try and focus on all of the amazing, good things in life because they by far outpace the bad moments even though they may be louder inside our heads. All of the best moments from the year should be on display in your reflection highlight reel.
When I was done, I had so many things on my list, such as getting a promotion and a raise, seeing my brother graduate college, going skiing, completing a professional exam series, and making new and better friends. This 20 minute activity instantly boosted my mood and definitely added a little something extra to my special day and I highly recommend it for anyone to try. It also enables you to identify patterns that you may want to eliminate or strengthen in pretty much all areas of life.
My short example (re-written to protect individuals privacy and less detailed than my OG version, sorry for the mistake, we all can’t be perfect)
Smash Mouth was really right when they said, “well the years start coming and they don’t stop coming.” Life literally slows down for no one. Overall, I do think that 25 is going to be a great year and right now it’s on track to be. 24 was a great year and by far superior to my 23rd year where I definitely struggled more than I would have liked to, so I have high hopes for this next year. I feel more confident with myself, my relationships with others, and my career. I don’t feel like I am suffering from imposter syndrome anymore and I know myself better, but check in with future me to confirm.
I don’t think turning 25 will be so bad despite the chaotic scene that 2020 has turned into. Even in quarantine, I expect to learn many more valuable lessons this year, get to know myself better, and you best believe that I will look back on 25 and question some of my decisions in a few years. It’s just like how I look back on myself at 22, thinking how foolish I was to think I had a majority of life figured out lol. Remember, birthdays are a reminder that you made it through another year of great memories, tears, laughing too hard, and getting a little closer to figuring this whole life thing out (maybe??). Let me know one of your favorite birthday memories in the comments! Favorite birthday foods and cake flavors are also welcome!