Writer: Josette Burke
So, let's be honest, depending on where we are in life, some of us just aren’t or wasn’t ready to turn 25. It’s no secret that turning 25 is a major deal and a milestone for many. But, actually, at any age, this feeling can be existent. Turning 25 brings its famous sayings with it, such as, "OMG I'm not in my early twenties anymore" or "OMG I'm almost 30" or the best one, “You are ¼ of a century old, the quarter-life-crisis begins”. Then again, we might think that life is getting too serious and responsibilities are about to knock on our door on another level. Guys! One thing is for a fact; we should always take life and our responsibilities seriously, but we must always keep that balance of living and enjoying a purposeful life. These so-called social constructed aspects in life that society told us to follow in a specific timeline is BS! We all have our own process in life, which we should trust in, together with the plans that God has made for our lives. Turning 25, I actually was really anxious and hesitant about it but after doing some reflections, deep soul searching and self-evaluations, I’m actually pretty cool with turning 25 by accepting that where I am in life at the moment is where I'm supposed to be. This process, of course, is not an easy one, but your girl is about to tell you how she did it.
Once you reach your twenties, birthdays can sometimes feel like somebody is grabbing their check-book to write you a big reality check and letting you know it’s about to get real. But should it be like this though, and why? Is this because of societies life’s expectations of a certain age? Or is it because we just don’t want to grow up? Well, honestly there can be many reasonable explanations on the mix-feelings of turning another year older. But who are we to decide if we are ready or not, wanting to or not, to turn another year older. We should actually be grateful for seeing another year. As my father told me, “Reaching another year is always good right!? You get to see another year and more opportunities to live meaningfully and achieve greater things”. Therefore I decided to write this article to start my mid-twenties in a meaningful way.
Everybody has their own way of processing things and who would have thought that processing your birthday would actually be a thing, right? Because when we were little we could have hardly wait for our birthdays, but nowadays we can totally wait for it. So this actually shows that the way we process things really depends on where we are in life. Additionally, different aspects of one's life also has an influence on the mixed feelings of turning another year older; such as ambitions, education, profession, love life, spirituality, loss, independence and the list can go on; and these are aspects that will gradually become very clear and confronting in your life that you won’t be able to avoid and that you and only you can deal with.
Trough conversations with some friends it made me think how ironic it is that my friends and I all experienced some type of anxiousness when it came to turning 25, but with different reasons behind it and different ways on dealing with it. I think my anxiousness started about a year and a half ago when I was sitting in my Gerontology class, which for those who don’t know; it’s a class on the study of aging, and we had a Gerontologist as a guest lecturer on that day. The first thing he asked the class was, “When does aging begin?” everybody starts shouting, “When we are born, in your 60s, 80s” and so on. He was standing there smirking at us to then hit us with the mother load of reality and said, “No! 25 is when ageing begins.” Everybody was like, “What is this guy talking about?” and bare in mind some of us were already 25, just turned 25 or almost 25 so it hit us like a bucket of cold water. Then he went on saying, “Your brain reaches its full development at the age of 25 and that’s when everything starts going downhill, and even pregnancy can be risky.” I kid you not, but that was his exact words! I always explained this like the scene in mean girls where the gym teacher tries to scare the class by saying, “Don’t have sex, you will get pregnant and die,” well it was something like that, so you can imagine my anxiousness right? Besides that, you will always find people whom will make it a little harder by asking, so do you have a boyfriend yet, are you working, did you finish school yet, do you have plans for the future and so on, and to make matters worse, is when they start comparing you to others. This can bring so many insecurities and self-doubt in a person. Personally, it was a long time coming, but here are some key points that helped me accept turning another year older and another year wiser.
KEY POINT #1: STOP COMPARING, JUST ACCEPT AND CREATE YOUR OWN PATH
We get ourselves down by looking and comparing what others are doing in their life. The thing we don’t know what goes on in one's life; positively and/or negatively would explain the things they do or don’t do in their life. By comparing; self-doubt or – disappointments and demotivation might occur within us, but the reality is that we are all in different stages in our life. We don’t have to do things because others are doing it; you don’t know the reason behind a person’s doing. Always keep in mind that you don’t have to be at a certain place in your life at a certain age because someone else was there at the same age you currently are. Just accept where you are in life, and make sure you keep working to reach where you want in life. Eventually you will start noticing that conversations you are having and events that you are attending changes within your crowd; conversations will be switching from crazy talks, partying, and dating to job opportunities, graduating, traveling, marriage and pregnancy topics, and sometimes it can get overwhelming especially if you are in a different stage and not achieving the same thing as others; but it’s completely normal; because we all have our own individual purpose in life. By accepting it’s a way of supporting each other and letting everyone grow in life in the direction they are meant to grow in, including you. It might be scary sometimes, but honey it’s inevitable. So make sure you find things you are passionate about, and dedicate yourself to that.
KEY POINT #2: DIG DEEP WITHIN YOURSELF
One thing as human beings we like to avoid doing is; really spending time with yourself and getting to know the real you. Ask yourself meaningful questions about your existence; are you living or are you surviving? What are you afraid of? Once you start feeling comfortable with yourself and everything else that comes with you and around you, you will have a mindset that you can deal with anything heading your way. For me, I wasn't happy nor satisfied where I am at my age but of course, different aspects in life played a crucial role for these feelings as well; I’m always passionate and dedicated on giving a 100% at all times for everyone and everything. But at a certain point you ask yourself what is life really about, and your own life in particular. I was literally just living life day-by-day and whatever happens we role with it. I knew vaguely what I wanted to do and become, but I wasn't doing anything about it. I haven't even started setting goals that I want to achieve in life let alone start working towards them. Believe me, at a certain point in your life you are going to question your existence and become disappointed with your self and it can even lead to sadness, which is okay; this is how I developed and realize I should start making some adjustments in my life. Therefore, reaching close to 25 I have finally learned the meaning of purpose and the importance of working with goals; because at a certain point in your life you will be searching for something more meaningful, and if you don’t find it within yourself, it might be that you will be searching for that something for a long time. It’s scary but if you keep limiting yourself from not feeling what you are really feeling; life will catch up with you and makes it extra overwhelming. Some of us are lucky to develop this mindset from an early age, but for others, life has to play out for us to understand it, but the heart of the matter is that you see the importance of knowing your self and know where you want to go and work towards it. It’s really nice doing things for others but you must make sure you do things for yourself too; so make sure you explore your own sense of existence.
KEY POINT #3:
TRUST IN YOUR OWN PROCESS
You will always find individuals trying to tell you how to live your life but only you know what is best for you. Its one thing that our maturity is influenced by our internal connections but on the other hand we have the external connections that play a major role to the point of annoyance. What makes it scary sometimes turning 25 is that most of the time by this age most people are in long-term relationships, or having children, working, they have their own car or home so, in other words, they seem like they are well put together. But then you will find people whom will start putting pressure because society said by this age you must be at a certain place in your life. So I can imagine the pressure and the anxiety people feel to become and/or pass the age of 25. What I’m about to tell you now might sound childish and naïve, but back in the days of my pre- and early-twenties (because by the time you read this I will be in my mid-twenties, lol) I always hoped that by my 25th I would be in a steady and long-term relationship; almost graduating with a bachelors degree and about to start my career in social work; get married and start having children by 27. Ha! Well for our surprise I'm 25 and in a solid relationship with life, which in reality actually means I'm just single but I’m enjoying it. It took me a while to come to terms with that because of course, these are things that can’t be planned #GodsPlan, but eventually you reach a point where you become more understanding towards yourself and start loving yourself more and stop doing the dumb shit you did just to feel that “TLC” you’ve been longing for and achieve things that are just not meant for you at that period in your life. I have come to learn the hard way and through heartbreaks that if you don’t give yourself that TLC no others will care to give it to you like you deserve. So if you are 25 or reaching 25 or at any age for that matter; and your single and struggling to accept this, worry not my child “Cause heavens got a plan for you”. The best thing you can do is by making a commitment to yourself; by loving your self, taking care of your self, live the best life you can for yourself, and when you least expect it, your Bae will be knocking on your front door with flowers, balloons, and champagne singing happy birthday to you for the rest of your life. So at the end of the day, it might be frustrating but there is always a reason behind everything that happens in our life, and in that is what we must trust in.
KEY POINT #4: DO YOU BOOBOO, DO YOU!!!
Sometimes we just got to say I have no fudge to give when you are in a phase of processing your on-going situation. Sometimes you have to get away to figure things out, sometimes you have to become selfish, but a healthy selfish though; life is no Burger King so you can’t have it your way. With a healthy selfish I mean that you truly take time for yourself and focus on you, and for once not doing things just to please people. Some days you can’t even take yourself anymore, so it’s important that you take time to process, analyze and question your own thoughts and feelings. One of my biggest struggles was saying no when it came to favours, it still is, but I am more conscious on when I’m saying yes and when I’m saying no; once you reach that point in your life that you can say no without justifying yourself every time, I would say that’s a big achievement. Additionally, it’s important to distinguish negative and positive people and scenarios and leave the negativity aside. A lot that we do and the people we encounter in our daily lives impact us on a daily bases and visa-versa, therefore it is important to be intact with yourself to know how you impact yourself positively and negatively. It’s okay to be sad, angry, confused, happy, excited etc. Besides, those feelings are what makes us grow by every experience it comes with; as long as you don’t keep it in; and for sure don’t let these feelings go to waste; these are the moments to become a reflective person so you can get a better understanding of yourself on a deeper level.
KEY POINT #5: MAKE YOUR LIST & BE EXCITED
Listen “Life is not measured by the numbers of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breaths away” Therefore I encourage you to create your own opportunities, make things fun and look forward to new, fun and adventurous things and let those moments take your breath away. Make plans, explore and be you! I think we all heard of a bucket list before. Now before writing this article, I was doing my own reading on peoples experiences on turning 25 and I came across one person who suggested making some type of list of things you want to do. To make your birthdays something you look forward to when getting older, make a list of things you want to do before your next birthday and once you accomplish that you make a list for your next birthday. What makes it even more fun is to involve other people in your lists of activities, but make sure you have the balance of doing things for yourself as well. By doing this it will bring a sense of achievements and self-fulfilment. One thing that keeps me going and gives me a sense of fulfilment is by doing things that scare me because I know that is where I do most of my personal growth. Don’t get too crazy but don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and most importantly don’t lose your norms and values by doing so. Believe me, if I knew about this idea of creating a list I think I wouldn’t have any anxiousness for my birthday, but then again everything happens for a reason, so I believe in this process and the journey I am in. So get out there my loves: Make your list of things you want to do on your next birthday and get excited!!
“Make everyday count, and be aware of your existence in this beautiful life we are blessed with, be grateful for the path you are on and aspire to be on a better path for yourself, and go through life by the grace of God, a humble heart and a loving soul” – J. Burke, Dedicated to the life and the beautiful people living it!
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blogpost are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official views of Phryme Magazine.