I turned 25 on Sunday.
I must also note that this is my first birthday (in 9 years) away from social media, meaning I did not have a Facebook (xanga, myspace, etc) to remind people that it is my birthday. It was a strange new experience, but nice because the birthday wishes I had received felt more authentic and thoughtful. Birthdays are funny because from childhood, we’re in/directly told that our birthday is a big deal and that everyone should care about it, but that’s often not the case, understandably so. After all, there are billions of other people on this earth. Birthdays are mostly a special day just to the birthday boy/girl and his/her parents. We are not as extraordinary as we think, which is humbling.
One of my friends told me that I should take a moment to think of everything I’ve accomplished by now, and that I should be really proud of myself. I guess this is me taking that moment:
I am constantly making 5-yr plans, and I vividly remember my 5-yr plan when I turned 20. It was something along the lines of: become a successful chemical engineer and make a lot of money. Needless to say, that plan was shot to hell. For many kids in their early twenties, there is an impending doom about turning 25. There is a lot of fear, confusion, and judgement. “Will I be successful by 25?” or “I’m about to be 25 and I don’t know where my life is going.” or “Will I still be single/forever alone?” I guess I’m the odd person out because I felt nothing but relief as 25 approached. I welcome every birthday with open arms, but I must admit that there is something about turning 25. I can’t wait to answer “25” when I’m asked my age! Buzzfeed, Thoughtcatalog, and similar websites have those stupid lists of ‘25 things for 25 years olds‘, or ‘Things to Stop Doing When You Turn 25‘. But point, blank, period, there’s no one right way to live life – whether you’re 25, 30, or 40+. There are no rules because success means different things to different people; as does happiness, love, passion, etc. Success is a feeling. I feel successful about my life at 25 because I have met the goals I had set out for myself: traveling abroad, living by myself, letting go of feelings for someone who did not respect me, cutting away toxic relationships, forgiving people and myself, leaving a job I dreaded, changing careers, finishing grad school classes, and landing my first teaching job. We often accomplish goals periodically without even realizing until we look at the bigger picture.
I never want to stop feeling like the opportunities are endless, and I hope to keep challenging myself so that I never will.