A Quarter-Life Crybaby

April 5th was a special day.

Scratch that, actually.

April 5th was a special day. April 5th was a discreetly momentous day in my life. 25 years on this earth would have been quite an accomplishment back in pre-sliced bread era/ancient civilization or whenever Jesus roamed with the dinosaurs. In this society, 25 is kind of a big deal. It beats turning 18 but it’s not as reckless as turning 21 or dignified as turning 50. I’m three-quarters away from being one hundred years old, and I can legally rent a car. Oh, joy. I feel youth is fleeting but I look in the mirror and realize my personal definition of 25 is wrinkle-free and lacking a briefcase and cubicle; I can’t complain.

What does this birthday, this age, this number, mean to me? It means I need to buckle down and ease up on the carefree mentality I’ve fastened to my rose-colored glasses, just a little bit. “Living by the moment” should be practiced more on weekends and holidays. “Compartmentalization” is a clunky word my mother used frequently while I was in high school, but it’s a mouthful I should roll around my tongue more often so I get used to the taste. When my father interviews potential agents he asks them to project where they see themselves in three years or so. I’m realizing my three-year plan doesn’t include textbooks, prom dresses or college. On life’s timeline, I’m inches away from considering cemented career-paths, mortgages and marriage. Price-points have increased, my metabolism just ain’t what it used to be, I’m probably going to acquire more dry-clean-only articles of clothing and I cupped my hand around my ear the other day because I couldn’t hear what the Barista at Starbucks was saying to me over the counter. Adulthood is here to stay, baby. I suppose it’s time for me to shake off that teenage immaturity that clings to our coattails and adorns our early-twenties.

What could this birthday, this age, this number mean to me? It could mean cubicle and water-cooler routines, dressing up in starched button-ups and prickly blazers. A salary and stability straight out of college, no room for breathing. It could mean a husband and a few crybabies of my own, perhaps an identity lost, gained or put on the back burner. It could mean a PhD, flashier material possessions, greener pastures, greater mobility, enhanced self-sufficiency or more memories pressed in pages and collecting dust on a self-assembled shelf. But here I am, keeping up the best I can and reaping the benefits of life’s doubts. I like who I am, I love where I’ve been, and I know things will slowly start to make more sense with each year to come.

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