Quarter-life

So, today is my 25th birthday.

Weird, right? That’s a big ol’ number.

It’s kind of intimidating, and I was trying to figure out why. Why does 25 feel so much more significant than 24? Or 23? I guess it’s because it’s right smack dab in the middle. I’m halfway through my 20’s. I can no longer say I’m in my “early twenties”. Not really. I can say mid-twenties. Gross.

I think the biggest change is going to be when I’m filling out forms. I will no longer be in the 18-24 age bracket. I liked that age bracket. It made me feel all young and awesome. Now I’ll be in the 25-30 bracket. Or worse, the 25+ range. That plus sign is basically saying “I’m really old, be gentle with me”.

I think if you had asked my 10 year old self – or really any of my under 18 selves – what my life would be like at age 25, the answer would not resemble my life in any way. Except that I live in New York. That was one thing I always knew would happen, come hell or high waters.  Not in a bad way, I just think that when you’re young, 25 sounds so old. As I get older, anything under 30 still sounds young to me, but when you’re 13? The 25-year-olds you knew were untouchable. They were grounded, they had things figured out, they were settled. None of those things apply to me.

My friend made a good point about birthdays the other day. We were in my apartment getting ready to go out to celebrate and she goes, “It’s kind of sad that our moms don’t celebrate our birthdays with us anymore. I mean, they did all the work. I feel like maybe it should be about them. Like more of a ‘happy you-gave-birth day’ instead.” And while I agreed that taking a whole day just to celebrate not having gotten yourself killed in the past 365 days, I think it’s important to have one day to be celebrated just for being you. And for not being stupid enough to have fallen into a well or something.

Birthdays were always a pretty big deal in my house growing up. Big old birthday party with extended family you see approximately three times a year. Cake, presents, the whole shebang. A lot of my memories of my birthdays are all blended together in a colorful swirl of chocolaty happiness.

I remember at my 10th birthday party, one of my mom’s friends was so excited that I was turning “double digits” that you would have thought it was HER birthday. Once I had a real life tea party with all the girls in my grade. At my 18th friend-party (some years we had those in addition to the family party, but not all) I believe we watched Spice World at my house. For my 16th birthday, I got to choose between a big “Sweet Sixteen” party and a trip to California. Obviously I chose LA, because I’m no fool. The negative birthday memories are fewer and further between, but there are some. I believe it was my 3rd birthday party when the clown/magician used a trick wand to convince me that I broke his wand. Thus, humiliating me and scarring me for life and instilling a fear/hatred of clowns and their trickery. For my 21st family party, there was a huge snow-storm and no one came except my younger cousin who had slept over the night before. Luckily my parents, brother and grandparents all live in the same house, so at least there was a small crew. Plus, my mother felt so bad that she took us to Build-a-Bear, so that was a win. (Yes, you read that correctly, I am talking about my 21st birthday, not my 12th.)

It is strange, how as you get older, celebrating your birthday changes a lot. Some people stop celebrating altogether at one point. I will not be one of those people. I think it’s important to have a day every year that people reach out and say hey. Send happy thoughts and wishes your way. Because you know what? You didn’t get yourself stuck in a well this year. (Hopefully.)

Maybe my life isn’t where I thought it’d be at 25. But I am a hell of a lot happier than I ever thought possible. I have an awesome family and amazing friends, I live in the best city in the world, I’m healthy, I’m out, I have a great job, wonderful coworkers, this quirky little blog, the best roommate a girl could ask for and an adorable apartment in a cute neighborhood.

So thank you to everyone and everything that has contributed to this happiness.  And if you’re reading this right now, whoever and wherever you are, whenever this is that you’re reading it, YOU are contributing to my happiness. I never would have dreamed that I would have my own little corner of the internet where people would come to hear me spew nonsense. But they do. YOU do. So I thank you.

The past two years have been some of the best of my life, and I hope that this one will be even better.

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~ by Valerie Anne on 01/09/2012.

2 Responses to “Quarter-life”

  1. Ah, so you recently turned 25 as well! My birthday was two days ago and I totally get what you mean about not being in the early twenties anymore 🙂 and similar sentiment with regards to our moms, and yes, when I was 13, I thought at age 25 meant being settled because my parents got married when they were 25!

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