Why Turning 25 Is Like Finding Myself In A Whole New World

by Emory Rakestraw

Going from 24 to 25 is a very weird dance.

It is a stage of denial and depression. It is the "tween" phase of our 20s, where we are floating in the stratosphere between child and adult.

But as I look out the window to admire the burnt orange leaves falling to the ground and relinquishing their summer green for a new spring, I can’t help but relate myself to this beauty of nature.

This is the changing season of our lives.

We have no choice but to adapt. This period in our lives is quite possibly the most rampant in development, depression and denial.

It is confusing. It is angry. It is strange. It is beautiful.

By the end of 24, I was ready for my life to change seasons. I was ready for my fresh summer green to wither into a beautiful fall red.

If you’re feeling confused, maybe you are too.

Fleeting fun, like excessive drinking and late nights at a bar, became boring.

Instead of sitting in a crowded patio with cigarette smoke twirling through my hair, I was ready to be home by my computer: typing away, creating, working, writing and turning myself into a better person.

But I began to wonder: Did that desire make me boring? Was I running away?

Of course not.

Deep down, I felt I knew who I was.

I had to be honest with myself. I wasn’t enjoying this anymore.

I wanted more.

I still wanted late nights — but at art galleries, beside a computer, reading a book or at intimate gatherings with friends and family.

But of course, I realized that to completely change my lifestyle, I had to leave a few of my friends behind.

This made me feel insecure and uncertain. I’d return from each late night at the bar in tears.

I watched everyone’s life change. I watched friends get engaged and bring children into this world.

I watched friends get promotions and become completely self-sufficient.

In this grand scheme of change, I felt stuck. I felt like an invisible girl.

I was watching the world around me, but no one noticed me. There was no one to give me his or her hand and pull me away from my instability and insecurity.

But maybe this meant I was changing? I was learning something about myself, even in this period of invisibility.

Certainly, I was growing. I took a step back to realize what it was about my new, awakening moments that made me truly happy.

I need hard work, dedication and a well-earned paycheck. I need to celebrate my triumphs with friends.

I need to travel through Europe.

All of these were milestones.

I wasn't invisible; I was choosing to be.

I was choosing to be stuck in a wall of indecisiveness because I was scared of the new, dangerous and foreign things I desired.

I was scared of my career and of doing everything on my own. I was scared of genuine friendships and genuine love. I didn’t yearn for the fast or fleeting.

I yearned for the real, the true and the triumphs that would carry me into another triumph.

I felt myself growing. With each realization, I was turning anew.

Of course, that ripe summer green was still somewhere in me. I would always be young, wild and carefree.

This growth can only occur because of the past seasons of my life.

So, I shed my skin of my early 20s. I thanked myself for the adventure. I walked into the cool fall air, threw my hands to my side and tilted my head back to take it all in.

All the leaves around me -- yellow, orange, burnt red -- were nothing more than a reflection of me.

I am ready to step into the new season of my life.