I'd been dreading 25 for my entire life, and my sense of foreboding became especially acute on the day I turned 21. What birthday did I have to look forward to now? Now that I was of legal drinking age, nothing would matter until I turned 25.
But your quarter-life crisis is no picnic. It's the beginning of the end. Everything is downhill from 25. That's why people have these crazy quarter-life crises, when they ask themselves what they hell they've been doing with their lives and why they aren't engaged or don't have an awesome job.
I feared 25 like the plague. I knew that my flare for drama would not allow me to treat 25 with anything other than the bizarre and exaggerated meltdown that it deserved. If I stayed in New York, I could certainly cut my hair to my ears, dye it violet and get a tattoo on my face.
No, I couldn't allow myself to have a meltdown. I had to get away. I demanded that my boyfriend plan a trip for us on my 25th birthday. That way, if I did have the nervous breakdown I was sure was looming in my future, no one else would be there to see it. I could have a panic attack, cry into three bottles of wine and weep on the phone with my mother without an audience.
So we went on a little vacation to get away from New York. We decided to spend my 25th birthday in Austin, Texas to see the sights and go hiking. I went to bed the night before my birthday feeling relatively calm.
Finally, the day of my 25th arrived. It was here, the day I had been dreading for most of life.
I sat up in bed, looked at the annoying clusterf*ck of "Happy Birthday!" Facebook messages that usually make me feel loved and appreciated, and I felt nothing. I felt exactly like I did when I was 24.
There were no fireworks. There was no massive meltdown extravaganza. There was no locking myself in the bathroom, threatening to shave off my eyebrows while indulging in the theatrical travesty of losing my youth.
It was boring. Anti-climactic, really.
I suddenly realized I had been indulging the drama. There was nothing wrong with turning 25. Your life doesn't crumble. Your world doesn't fall apart. You're just another f*cking year older, and who the f*ck cares?
Age is seriously so irrelevant.
What it really comes down to is this: Age is seriously just a number. How old you are is so irrelevant. It means nothing.
Sure, when you're super young you probably don't know that much about life. But once you hit your 20s, who the f*ck cares how old you are? The only person who cares is you.
Don't base your life around how old you are. Your life is about your path, not some stupid age. I'm 25, and I'm just doing me. I'm not going to be suddenly a super mature, "together" adult just because a date came and passed.
I was indulging in my fear of a crisis more than I was thinking about what it really meant to turn one year older. And that's nothing.
Age timelines are so dumb.
You're not going to hit a different milestone at every "significant" year. Society constructs these expectations for us. You don't have to be engaged at 25 or 26. You don't need to be a CEO by the time you're 30. That's all just a bunch of bullsh*t.
Putting that kind of pressure on yourself is not going to help you; it's only going to make you miserable. Everyone says that life is short, but you know what? Life is actually really f*cking long.
Who cares if you're super successful at 22, 29 or 58? In the grand scheme of things, what does it really matter when -- or if -- you get married? You don't have to follow some silly, cut-and-dry, boring calendar to have a perfectly lovely life.
Being 25 has no meaning other than that you're a little bit older. Congratulations. It is literally just your age.
You may have a great life epiphany, but it won't happen on the day you turn 25.
You're not going to suddenly inherit the wisdom of Dumbledore just because you're now a quarter of a century old. You're not going to wake up and realize your life needs major changes NOW simply because, on paper, you're one year older.
You will certainly have moments of great clarity and wisdom. There will be times when you realize your life isn't going the way that you want, and you need to make serious changes to achieve your goals.
But this won't happen on your 25th birthday just because it's your 25th. You aren't blessed with the maturity of adulthood just because you managed to stay alive for 25 years.
You can have a crisis any f*cking time in your life.
It doesn't matter if you're 18, 25, 50 or 100. Life is fragile, and you can have a massive crisis at any time in your life.
You can wake up at any moment and decide you want to f*ck up the status quo and make a new life for yourself. You can make the decision to reinvent yourself whenever you damn well please.
You're not just allotted certain ages in which you're allowed to freak out. You can freak out anytime and anywhere.
You're not weird if you don't freak out at 25.
I'll admit that I'm a drama queen. I didn't freak about being 25. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, I'm starting to realize that these dreadful quarter-life crises are just silly.
If you freak out, that's okay. It can be scary to turn 25. I get that. But there is no need to freak the f*ck out. Nothing has changed. You're still a cool, fun and interesting person.
Everyone still likes you, I promise.
I actually rather like being 25. I feel more mature and worldly. There is something about saying you're 25 that makes people want to take you more seriously.
The only thing that changes when you turn 25? You can rent a car. Cool.