December 22, 2014

Thoughts on 25

This month was the official halfway mark of my 25th year of life. Just like the last few years, these six months have been filled with an unbelievable mix of emotions and happenings, both good and not-so-good.

I wrote a version of the words below a few months ago, and I've been having similar thoughts in the last few days and weeks, so I thought it would be good to repeat them here - to myself, first and foremost, but also to anyone else who might want or need to hear them.

"The other night I was feeling a little down. It was a mix of being tired and dissatisfied with how things are now; it was nothing too serious then but something that often can (and has many times in the past) go into a downward spiral all the way to thoughts like  "I'm not good enough" (or simply not enough) or "I've failed at (insert goal)". I've been reading and learning enough in the past few years to know that these thoughts are not based in reality, because in fact each one of us, as we are in this moment, is (good) enough.  This is a great point to remind myself of in moments like this, but I've found that it doesn't always work. That particular night, I actually got to the point in my downward spiral where I thought to myself, "This isn't the life of a 25-year-old".

Thankfully, in the very next moment came my saving grace that night, and for many nights after. As soon as my mind finished thinking "This isn't the life of a 25-year-old", another thought popped in, and I was asking myself: "But what IS the life of a 25-year-old?". This might have been the quickest turnover I've ever had from a bad mood to a much better one, because the answer is so obvious: there isn't a single answer to this question; there are 25-year-olds who have travelled far and wide to all four corners of the world and others who have never stepped foot out of their small town.At the same time, there are 25-year-old mothers with two, three or even more children and 25-year-old women who have never even held a newborn; girls (and guys) who have never worked a day in their 25-year-long life, and ones who got a job the first chance they had; and finally, 25-year-olds who still live at home but also ones who have been on their own for nearly a decade.

Life is different for each one of us, and as much as society is trying to give us lists of things we should have done by a certain age, it just doesn't work that way. Life is much more complicated and unexpected than that. I've struggled with thoughts of this kind for a long time, but I think that now, at 25, I am just starting to grasp what the saying "Age is just a number" really means."

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