The Losing Side of 25: One of my favorite songs by a band called American Aquarium. The first time I heard it I was probably 23 and in my last year of college. I loved the lyrics and sang blissfully to the tune without ever once considering that that would be me one day.
The song essentially depicts a young man in his late 20’s who is not ready to grow up yet, although all of his friends are having kids and settling down. If any of that sounds familiar, you and I might have a couple things in common.
The thing is, it’s normal to settle down and have kids by, or after, the age of 25. But it’s also equally as normal to feel flighty and restless at this age. A family, marriage, and a good job does not, I will repeat, DOES NOT equate fulfillment for everyone. For some, it does, and that is great. But for the rest of us, what’s next? When will we ever get to the point of wanting that “settled” life? Ever? What if we are in our mid 30’s by the time we realize that we are ready to start a family? Should we just start now just in case we feel that way later? I am having fun now traveling and sleeping in but should I just force myself to take on a more maternal role and stop going out?
These are the questions I play over and over in my head on a bi-daily basis. The strangest part is that none of these things ever crossed my mind, not once, until I woke up the other day. I was reminiscing on my recent trip to Europe and suddenly realized that the whole summer had blissfully passed me by and that my birthday was only two short weeks away.
On August 7 I will turn 27. It’s still my 20’s, I know. I had a miniature break down about 26, but where did this year go? What have I accomplished? I did quit my job to pursue full-time self-employment, and it has been wonderful. I never will admit to it being easy, just wonderful. I took back my time that was being sucked from me and decided that, even though I didn’t know exactly what I want, I know what I don’t want, and I didn’t want to waste another minute at a job I hated.
So that’s where we start. For those of you who are unsure of yourself, your job, your life, your choices, your relationships, your future, start with what you don’t want, and sort the logistics out later. Because if you can find a common denominator to this unsureness, this almost depressing feeling of obtaining age against your will, then you can confidently justify your reasons for not wanting to settle quite yet.
And you know what? Some people never settle. Some people would rather be independent, travel the world, and make money however they can until they’re gray. The married life, the mom life, the dad life, the traveling life, the childless life, the nomad life, it’s not for everyone. Not everything is for everyone. We all have our preferences as to how we want to go about existing in this tiny little world amidst the throws of this unending and ever-expanding universe, so make the most of it the best way you know how. Stop worrying about what your best friend wants, what your parents want, what your boss wants. What do you want? Or better yet, what do you NOT want?
For me personally, I don’t see myself as a maternal figure or someone who stays home to take care of the house all the time. I don’t see myself in an office job again. I don’t see myself making millions, nor do I care to have that much money. I know that I want to be comfortable enough, financially to travel, eat, and give to others. My line of work is barely getting me by, but what more do I need? Some weeks are better than others, so sometimes I make lots and sometimes I make less. I have always worked, and I am not opposed to getting another job so long as that job makes me happy. I am currently in the process of applying for a job, but I am waiting to hear back from my interview, so I don’t want to speak to soon.
My point is that once I threw out everything I did not want, it was so much easier to narrow down the things that I did want, hence, my application for another job, even after I swore to myself that self-employment was the way to go.
I was so bummed about turning 27, but now I am working on a brand new perspective. I am blessed, I have things that I need, and then some. I travel often. I have opportunities at my feet. I am active and energetic. I guess maybe I still feel like I am 18, so I still act accordingly (besides the binge drinking and late nights…that definitely changes with age).
I have heard from many a wise man and woman that your 20’s are kind of like a trial run of adulthood and that your 30’s are like your 20’s, except for more stable and with more confidence. They say that you kind of find your footing by the time you’re 30. You still look great, you’re still young, you’re more sure of yourself.
So who knows. Maybe the losing side of 25 is merely a door that leads to the winning side of 30? Here’s to 27 years. Cheers!