I was seven years old, lying on the floor of a hotel room with an oceanfront view in Myrtle Beach, North Carolina. When you are young, you fantasize about growing older, growing boobs, going off to college, and getting married. I did go to college, but the boobs never came in. When I was young, I couldn’t wait to be older. It didn’t help that I had two older siblings I admired. I saw them do things I had to wait until I was older to do.
Each birthday is a big deal. I am a seven-year-old, so naturally, I am eager to turn eight because turning eight is one step closer to doing everything I saw my older siblings do. My parents got a hotel room in Myrtle Beach for my birthday each year. My birthday is in January, and hotel prices are low in the winter. The artist would decorate my birthday cake with whales, squid, and other oceanic creatures. It was fitting considering our location.
I don’t remember much from my birthday when I was seven years old. I am sure my mother has pictures, but all I can remember is the decorative birthday streamers, and the night I lay awake sad that seven and I had to part ways. Up until then, I had been giddy at the thought of getting older, but it made me sad that I had to leave seven behind entirely. I remember crying myself to sleep, mourning the passing of time. Of course, when I woke up to breakfast, pancakes, and presents, I forgot all about the crying the night before, but I never forgot that feeling.
I am twenty-four for only a few more hours. Although I look forward to twenty-five, I am sad to see twenty-four go. Time seemed to speed up on me, and somehow I ended up here. Twenty-four and I have grown to become dear friends. Each year, I leave behind a different identifying number and start a new chapter. I’ll miss twenty-four, but I know twenty-five will suit me well.
Tonight twenty-four and I are having our last night together- like a married couple who knows the husband is going to the front lines in the morning—gone forever. In the morning, I will wake up feeling differently. The morning will pass, and I will enter into my next face of celebration.
Fifteen minutes until I am twenty-five and I enter into the quarter life crisis chapter I dread.
Happy birthday to me
The next morning.
I am officially Twenty-five. A lot of things come with a new number every year. For starters, it’s one year closer to being kicked off my parent’s health care insurance. I scramble to make as many doctors appointments as I can. When I was seven, I thought twenty-five-year-olds were middle-aged. I got my first gray hair when I turned 24. Let’s wait and find out what changes with my body next. Jane Austen said it best “By the bye, as I must leave off being young, I find many Douceurs in being a sort of Chaperon for I am put on a Sofa near the Fire & can drink as much wine as I like.” So I pour myself a glass of red wine and cheers to another year of figuring out my twenties.
I am grateful for every blessing in my life. However, I am nowhere in life that I thought I would be at twenty-five.Not even close. I expected that I would have a steady job, be married, or travel the world by now. Shakespeare was onto something when he said, “expectations are the cause of all sorrow.” I spoke with my financial planner this morning. She asked, “where do you see yourself in ten years.” I am a goal setter—a planner. Yet, I couldn’t come up with anything specific. What I want now is only based on what I know from the past. The world is changing every day. Heck, none of us could have predicted the plot twist of 2020 and a global pandemic. Well, maybe scientists could have, but certainly not me. My trajectory changed, and it’s constantly evolving.
I started my quarter-life crisis pretty much the day I graduated from my University. I have had years to prepare. Many of us, myself included, make the mistake of wanting our dreams to turn into reality too quickly. Your twenties are a time of exploration, discovery, and growth. You don’t need to have a dream job right out of college, buy a house by twenty-seven, or have anything figured out. Big dreams take time and lots of hard work. Take a breath. Take your time.
Everyone has their timeline, and it’s just fine. I’m excited about twenty-five, but in all honestly, I am taking life one day at a time. Cheers to the quarter life crisis.