So my 25th birthday is just around the bend, and I have to say...I'm not looking forward to it at all. And no, this has nothing to do with the fact that I'm getting ever closer to wrinkles and gray hair and losing my "sweet young thang" status. Although I did hear someone recently put sweet young thangs firmly in the 24 and under demographic, and I cringed...just a little.
No. I'm not excited about turning 25 because it means I'm one year further along in life, and I still don't really seem to have developed the sense of self and direction I assumed that I would develop sometime before now. I'm 25 years old, and there are still a million things I haven't done, things I feel like I should have done and planned to do, but somehow never got around to doing. I'm 25, and I'm getting closer to a lot of the you're-a-grown-up-now deadlines that everyone seems to think I should be hitting (marriage, home, babies, etc.), but am not—not even close.
I'm not excited about turning 25 because, I thought 25 would feel a certain way, and I definitely don't feel the way I thought I'd feel at 25. It's the whole disparity between perception and reality thing that's got me kind of down. Where is my magical transformation into grown-up-ness? Why haven't I suddenly become all those things I thought grown-ups were supposed to be?
And, yeah, maybe it is just a little unfair that instead of all the wisdom and maturity and zen I was supposed to achieve at 25, I'm just as confused as I was at 23, only now I do have gray hairs and laugh lines and a metabolism that's disappearing faster than the polar ice caps.
But really...I just don't feel like I'm 25, even with the gray hairs. I still feel young, and not just in the bad ways. I still get super giddy and excited over the silliest things, and I can be really, really goofy. I still like wearing my pajamas, pretty much all the time, and have yet to adapt to a less comfortable but more professional wardrobe. Yeah, I've failed to become a sophisticated woman of the world, but at the same time, I've also got all this other great stuff going on, even if the world seems to be telling me it's time to stamp those tendencies out. I don't want to stamp those tendencies out, though. I don't want to get a year older, gain all of these new "adult" traits, but then be expected to lose some of the fun stuff of being young.
Maybe this is why I'm failing to become the grown-up I've always thought people were supposed to become: I just really like being young. Or...maybe this is why women have been so reluctant to admit their own age for so long. It has nothing to do with the shame of growing older, and everything to do with still feeling young inside—and not at all like what you thought you should feel when you reached a certain age.