Quarter of a Century

It’s official, I am 25 years old. Looking back when I was 21, I imagined myself at the age of 25 to have my own place, starting my doctorate, owning a cat, being financially stable and being a mature intellectual citizen who has a good level of control and poise in adulthood.

Well, I don’t have my own place, I haven’t started my doctorate, I don’t own a cat, I still have student loans to pay off, I don’t think my IQ has increased, I still take pleasure in the little things (which some consider childish) and I don’t feel like I hold all the qualities of being an adult (like owning a credit card or understanding my limit with alcohol).

So, of course, I was a bit panic-stricken to turn 25. 5 years until I’m 30!

My birthday card from my Nan illustrated a red convertible sports car. Inside the card reads ‘I hope to see you driving one of these by the time you hit 30’. No pressure!

I have taken many deep breaths and realised that I’ve grasped other important life concepts:

Appreciating family: When I was younger I found myself to confuse friends as more important than family. Reason being that they ‘understood’ me more. When parents would give advice, I would regret because they ‘didn’t understand me’. Here is some truth – my parents are right! My respect for them now is tremendous. I regret not listening to them when I was a teen but now I find myself trying to follow their footsteps and guidance on life.

Additionally, with my Nan getting older and more dependent, I find my mum passively making comments about appreciating time with your family as much as you can. Because life flies by (quickly). The amount of time I choose to spend with my family is so much more than it used too and I really feel a sense of bliss when I’m surrounded by them.

The quality of friends over quantity: Comparing the amount of ‘friends’ I had from my teens, or even early twenties to now, well it’s less. However, I feel more appreciative of this. The friends that I do have exist in my life because they truly want me as their friend. Even if we don’t live near each other. I even have friends who live around the world and are insistent that I come and see them because they want to spend time with me, even though they haven’t seen my face in a year. That tells me a lot. Hitting 25, I realise that I shouldn’t be a ‘number’. Reflecting back sometimes I felt that people called me a ‘friend’ but you were just another guest to invite to their party so they looked more popular. Really, they knew nothing about me and if I needed help, they wouldn’t be there. I can safely say, I have a damn good selection of friends and I love them all to pieces.

Stepping away from trends: Don’t get me wrong, I’m still interested to know what’s on trend. But that doesn’t mean I will always conform. When I was younger, I NEEDED to have the latest fashion, beauty or gadget trends. I remember one fashion trend where girls (including myself) wore pink or white suede boots. WHY DID I DO SUCH A THING?! Now, I pay attention to the trends, but I’m old enough to think clearly before deciding to purchase something or conform. Plus, asking some fundamental questions; do I really need this? Is it worth the price? Will I use it? Does it suit me?

Coping mechanisms: After 25 years, I think it’s ok to say that I know what I’m like. I understand what can trigger me into a bad mood and I know what can progress me into a happy mood. Yesterday I went shopping into town and within an hour I wanted to push people into the shelves (the shops were very busy and it slowed me down). Normally I am a very patient person so I knew that wasn’t the true trigger of my annoyance. So, what gets me annoyed so easily? I was hangry (when hunger leads to anger). I went and bought a cheese and tomato toastie and within 30 minutes I had an enormous Cheshire cat smile stretching across my face. I had a problem, and I solved it without causing anyone else harm; that’s called maturity. On a more serious note, I have techniques to cope better with stress, low mood and anxiety. Hurrah!

The importance of health: If I want to live a good life, I need to look after myself. That means paying attention to what goes into my body, the importance of mental health and paying attention to significant changes. I no longer use Google as my GP and seek professional advice when needed. Most importantly, I now understand that health thrives in balance. Yes, you can have a drink at the weekend, but binge drinking all of the weekends. Bit much?

Appreciating the world I live in: Now I’m more active in travelling the world I live in. This means stepping outside the comfort of my home and diving into different cultures. Being 25, that’s a big priority for me. I seem to be travelling more and more as I’ve gotten older and understand the brilliance of different cultures.

Saying no: I’m not a total expert at this, but I’m much better than I used to be. I don’t feel a huge sense of anxiety if I say no to things or state my opinion. At this age, I’m more comfortable with being me. If people don’t like that, tough. It’s impossible to please everyone.

Happiness: I am more aware of what makes me happy and how I can be active in my own happiness. Before I felt that happiness should be (somehow) something given to me. Now I fully embark on the lifestyle choice that happiness is something that I can create.

[On my next blog I will write about my birthday weekend]

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