Atta Girl
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Atta Girl

No, 25 Isn’t “Old”

Photo by Johannes W on Unsplash

As early as my late teens, I started to hear my peers talk more and more about the dreaded age of 25 as though it were a milestone marking the end of youth and the beginning of old age. As my own 25th birthday crept closer, along with the 25th birthdays of friends, my Facebook and Twitter feeds filled with posts about 25 marking the end of youth. I not only disagreed, but I didn’t understand it, either. How could someone possibly feel 25 was old? When I woke up on my 25th birthday, I didn’t feel like I’d reached some milestone signaling the beginning of old age. I wasn’t upset. Instead, I felt invigorated, and now, a couple years beyond 30 — another societal harbinger of old age — not much has changed. Your late 20s and early 30s are actually pretty great, and here’s why.

Independence
After spending my teenage years longing to be out on my own in the world, I moved out of my parents’ house at 21 and in with three housemates, about six months after I started my first job out of college. Six months after that, just after turning 22, I moved into my own apartment, where I stayed until I got married at 28. And while supporting myself wasn’t always easy and fun — it was surreal at times, stressful and hard at others — I don’t regret a second of it. I loved having my own space that I payed for myself where I could eat ice cream for dinner and not wear pants, and knowing I was doing it on my own was immensely satisfying. And I did it on my own terms. I got to decide what being an adult meant, and I got to decide what my age meant.

Growth and maturity
As you move from your 20s into your 30s, you’re still young and still have plenty to learn but already have come a long way from things like the difficult teenage years and the occasionally irresponsible, alcohol-filled college years. I learned a lot about myself, the world, and what I wanted out of life, and I grew a lot because of what I experienced. I’ve worked hard to get where I am now — whether working towards self-love and confidence, cutting out toxic people, or striving to be more compassionate. For the most part, I know who I am and who I want to be.

Learning
We learn from our mistakes our whole lives, but some lessons come through so much clearer when you get them as an adult and you suffer the consequences of your own actions instead of getting yelled at and punished by a teacher or parent. Nothing will teach you to be responsible with your money and attentive to bill due dates like a late fee or not having money for a necessity because you spent it on a luxury. Nothing will teach you to keep up with your dirty dishes like the messy, daunting mountain looming in your sink. Nothing will teach you conflict resolution like trying to make things work with a romantic partner or friend you don’t want to lose.

Parental relationships
I often say I’m not sure if my parents have loosened up because my brother and I are getting older or because they’re getting older, but either way, I have more fun with them now. We don’t always agree, but we don’t clash like we did in my teenage years. Plus it’s nice to be able to do things like enjoy a beer and a trip to the casino together, not to mention my family’s love of attending concerts together.

The Future
Look, for all the talk of quarter-life crises and turning 25 meaning you’re a quarter of a century old and being closer to the even more terrible age of 30, the reality is your 20s are just the beginning. Life expectancy for women is now just over 81 years, and the numbers in my family history are even higher — my great-grandmother lived to be 96, and she once told me she had a grandfather who lived to be 110. So I could be just getting started, and that’s just fine with me. I have a lot I want to do. I still have things to figure out, like we all do, but I have an idea of where I want to be, what I need to do to get there, and the optimism to believe I can make it happen.

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For women in their 30s & 40s or whatever. If the internet doesn’t think you’re cool anymore, we do.

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Janelle Sheetz

Janelle Sheetz

Writer for http://AXS.com. Former @Inyourspeakers features editor. For the latest music news: http://www.axs.com/contributor/janelle-sheetz-axs-contributor-1061

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