My twenties are nearly half over, on Friday, I turn 25.
Back in college, you know forever ago, my mom told me to enjoy my twenties because they fly by. It’s a time of excitement, learning, and exceptional trial and error. She was not kidding. I couldn’t tell you where the past five years have gone.
Thinking back to everything that has happened, it seems astounding, as if through five years I’ve lived a multitude of lives. Looking back on that 20-year old I used to be, I see such a different person it’s difficult to believe we’re one in the same.
So, what exactly has happened in 5 years? I graduated college, went to culinary school, started dating my boyfriend, moved 7 times (soon to be 8!), spent 6 months abroad (that’s it???), visited six new countries, spent about a week on a plane, lived in New York, and Los Angeles.
Mostly though, my mind-set has changed. I used to view my twenties as the beginning of my life. It’s when I would choose my career, my husband, where I would settle down. There’s a lot of perceived pressure to “get on track” and make seemingly, life determining decisions. Now, that seems absurd, how can any twenty-something know, really, what they want for the rest of their lives? Instead of a time for all these critical decisions, I view my twenties as a time to explore before I might actually have responsibilities (kids? scary thought).
My “quarter life crisis” happened when I was twenty-three, really, in East Africa realizing everything I thought I wanted, I actually didn’t. I’m lucky in that regard. I didn’t need the grind of life to push me to pursue what I loved (societal expectations be damned!), and the two years since have been exploring this new-found unknown. Sure, sometimes it’s hard and I feel like my life is a continuous waiting game of “whats next?!” But that beats being settled down (for me anyway). And day by day I get better at not caring what other people think. I’ve learned to question protocol and be sure any decision I make is because that’s whats best for me, not just because that’s what people do “at my age.”
And though I’ve grown a lot in the past few years, and occasionally cringe at some of the more immature actions of my early 20’s I don’t regret anything. I certainly made mistakes, but I wouldn’t re-do anything since those lessons were invaluable, and helped shape who I am today.
And mostly, it’s highlights. I loved college (minus organic chemistry perhaps), and everything since has been an incredible journey. I’ve changed in almost every facet of my life, and have grown to crave change, despite the inherit difficulty these life-altering times have been, retrospectively they’re the best in my life.
So while I’m a bit nostalgic for the relative simplicity of the first half of this decade I can’t begin to express the excitement I have for the rest. I have no idea what will happen, and I embrace that. I don’t want to know what I’ll be doing six months from now, not yet anyway, the thrill of the unknown, of adventures to come is too great to make many definitive plans. I imagine the next five years to be even better than the last. I have five years to explore the world, and my eventual future-self, with all the maturity I lacked when I was twenty. I know I have a lot to learn, and I can’t wait to see what happens and how much I’ll change.
So, bring it on 25. I’m ready.