On Being 25 (and not being married with 2.2 kids or partying my ass off every weekend)
April 21, 2016
25 is a weird, weird age. I feel like my generation has trended towards two different options when they're in their mid-20s. Either you are married, settling down and thinking about your future and family plans; or you're trying to avoid impending "adulthood" by numbing your terror with partying on the weekends and burning yourself out at work on the weekdays. (DISCLAIMER: I know not everyone fits these categories, but it's what I see the most.)
But what about the rest of us? What about people who don't fit in either of these categories? I almost named this post "on being 25 and being boring," because I totally feel like I am! I can't go out and hit up 6 bars like I used to, but I'm also not in a place where I'm quite ready for a family. What the hell is this weird "in-between" stage I feel like I'm in?! And why did no one tell me about it?!
On my 25th birthday I went out with some friends to 2 bars downtown and realized at 11pm that I was pretty miserable. I was tired--my disease-related fatigue usually puts me to bed before 10pm most nights--and I just wasn't enjoying myself. I didn't want a massive hangover the next morning. I'm normally used to going out with my boyfriend, who THANK GOD is totally fine to close down the bar at 8pm with me most nights when we go out. Match made in heaven, folks. But on my birthday, here I was, tired and a bit cranky, wondering what the hell changed between now and my 21st birthday 4 years earlier.
Another example: A friend of mine recently had a baby and I couldn't wait to meet him. She is married and has a beautiful daughter who I've hung out with and babysat quite a few times since she was born. When I met her son, I was so excited, but I also felt confused. It was the first time in my life I realized that if I had a baby, my whole life wouldn't be completely derailed. BUT, I still didn't quite feel like I was ready to be a parent. BUT EVEN THEN, my heart hurt. I know I want a family, I know I want kids someday. But it's just not time yet.
So now, I'm in a weird limbo. I've grown out of who I used to be, but I'm not where I want to be someday just yet. This is a phase of my life I never planned for, envisioned, or anticipated. When I was 5 years old and planned out my life, it looked like this:
-Finish watching Winnie the Pooh for the 100th time
-Go to elementary school
-Go to middle school
-Go to high school
-Go to college
There was no in-between that happened between college and a family. Why is that? I think it's because of how you're raised. Your immediate family is all you really know when you're a kid and it's what you learn. By the time my Mom was 25, she was married with 2 kids. So that's what I had thought I needed to do too. Whether I realized it or not, I was setting myself up to get to 25 and be like: "What the hell?!" "Is this normal?!"
YES, for the love of all that is holy. IT. IS. NORMAL. It is normal for your life to take a different trajectory than you planned. It is normal to not know what you're doing about 80% of the time. Fun Fact:This, I have discovered, is being an adult. Asking an adultier adult how to adult. It's the new circle of life.
But one thing we have to stop doing as young adults? Shaming one another. Acting like the way we are attacking life is the only way to do it. Trying to shoot for CEO by the time you're 30? AWESOME. You go, you fabulous #girlboss, you. But, don't look down with pity on young moms who decided to have kids. Do you have kids? FANTASTIC. You post those adorable pictures of your kiddos on Instagram because you know I'll like the shit out of them. But, don't hate on women who have got it going on in the career department. And what about all of us in-between? Ask us about our passions, what gets us going in the morning, our pets, the great deal we got on a patio set at Target last week. Stop asking us when we're having kids; and when we say we're not planning on a family for a while, stop assuming that we are only dedicated to our careers. It's not black and white. We are multi-faceted creatures with talents and passions that exist on all levels. Let's talk about all of them.
We are the first generation to not really follow the cookie-cutter mentality of what adulthood looks like. No one really knows what a "normal" trajectory post-high school looks like now and that's ok. Social media seems to provide constant reminders of what you "should" be doing as a 20-something female. Don't listen. Develop your own, kick-ass brand. This constant window into other's lives can be joyful, but also dangerous. Let's keep it joyful.
As a 25 year old, I probably seem pretty boring. On the contrary, I'm extremely fulfilled. Yeah, I'm in bed most nights at 9pm, I don't close down bars very often anymore, and I live (gasp) in the suburbs. But, I have a wonderful job that I enjoy, family that loves me, incredible friends, and a boyfriend who takes me as I am and makes me laugh. I live in a beautiful house, I have a little fluff for a dog, and am fortunate enough to be able to provide for myself financially. Who else can say all of that at 25? I've learned that life is about the small moments. The tiny things every day that you do that bring you joy. The quiet mornings with my computer and coffee, feeling the wind in my face on a run, laughing at Snapchat face swaps with my boyfriend. Take in the little moments, those are the ones you'll remember. Everything else will happen as it should, when it should.
I may not have achieved some of my long-term goals yet, but that's the thing: those are long-term goals. Remember that you have time. Remember that there is no set path. Remember that life will throw you for a loop and your plan is not ever going to work out the way you think it will.
-It's okay to want to build a stable life for yourself
-It's okay to want a family
-It's okay to not want a family
-It's okay to make steps towards adulthood
-It's okay to hit up the bars on the weekend with your friends
-It's okay to have mini-meltdowns because you literally have no idea what your next step is
Let's support one another through these big life changes. Boring girls, unite!