25: I Still Have No Idea What I’m Doing.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved my birthday.

When I was younger, I’m sure it had everything to do with the presents I received at my parties. But as I got older, it became more about the fact that I could gather all my friends together in one place for a moment in time. As people moved away, started working and drifted apart, that time became more and more special to me. It still is.

I’m turning 25 tomorrow, and while I typically look forward to my birthday with unabashed glee…this year feels different. It feels like this date has snuck up on me, knocked on my door, and left a ticking time bomb on my doorstep.

There are a few dates that feel significant, as we’re told they should be “milestones” of our youth: 16, 18, 21. The rest of my birthdays were a lot of “eh. I feel the same.”

But not this year. Maybe because of everything going on in both the country and the world, but I feel really scared. I feel a panic clawing at my chest. I feel like I’m shedding the skin of a former self and time is whispering, “well, there’s no going back now.”

In 5 years I’ll be 30. For some reason, that’s what I seem to be fixating on. Maybe I view 30 as the true loss of youth. Everyone says to me, “oh, you’re still young.” I know that. But one day soon I won’t be. What kind of person will I be then? A decent one, I hope. One who lives with conviction and doesn’t make excuses. Who travels the world and works a job that she is passionate about. Hopefully, a wife and mother.

There are so many things I’m confused and upset about in today’s world, but I can confidently say this: you’re shaped by the people around you. I’m lucky that over the years what hasn’t changed is my unwaveringly loyal family and friends. I don’t have much else figured out. But as long as I have that, come what may, I’ll be alright.

Cheers to a quarter of a century.