I turn 25 next year in September, and I’m not exactly jazzed about it. Well, it’ll be cool being able to rent a car (even though I don’t like driving). Honestly, I don’t even feel like I’m about to hit my mid-twenties. I feel more like an overworked adolescent. I am well into the frays of adulthood, yet I didn’t reach most of the milestones that I imagined I would as a kid. Now, most of my graduating class got married, getting their first big girl jobs and giving birth to their first kids. Meanwhile, I’m just now getting my bachelor’s degree, living with my mom and spending too much money on video games. What the hell happened? Why am I not established in my mid-twenties?
Even if I don’t know what happened, I still have a life to live.
What am I supposed to be doing?
The more I ask myself this question, the more I realize how little sense it makes. Especially now, the expectations for adulthood don’t really matter that much. I go to class and work to achieve my goals right next to Beverly Hills where teenagers make millions doing TikTok dances. Tis I, Boo Boo the Fool. Still, the questions buzz through my head from time to time. Should I figure out my career soon? Focus on enjoying my youth? Get married within the next few years? Start having kids before I turn 30?
I’m working on the first two, but I scoff at the second half. My boyfriend and I treat marriage like a far-off fairytale, and I stand several feet away from anyone pregnant because I’m afraid of catching an unwanted pregnancy (better safe than sorry). I know I’m not ready for any of that. I think asking myself if I’m ready for something makes more sense than asking what I’m supposed to be doing.
How do I know I’m ready?
Well… I don’t know exactly. However, what I do know is what I can do right now and decide what I want to do. Right now, I want to finish my degree and build my resume, so I do that. Consequently, I can barely remember to do my laundry every week, so I don’t think I should take responsibility for another human being. I can do some things and can’t do others. Fulfilling goals requires not just drive but time and opportunity. It took me three years to get back to university after dropping out of my first one, so, of course, the people who didn’t drop out moved on to other things. Does that mean they’re better than me? Not necessarily.
They lived their lives doing their best with what they had just like I did. Some people possess the tools necessary to fulfill the tasks in front of them; I didn’t at the time, but now I do. Growing up, people used to call me a “late-bloomer,” and I used to think that was a nice way of saying “loser.” However, I realize now that people grow at different paces. Reaching my mid-twenties does not mean I’m prepared for everything. If I’m not ready for something now, I do what I can until I can get there.
How do I get there?
People don’t do things the same way. How would that even work? We all experience different lives. I can’t just tell myself to just Nike it. Okay, I’ll do it…but how? When I went back to community college, I didn’t know what to do at first. So, I asked for help and kept asking. I asked myself all the way to two associate degrees. Now, I make myself ask for help when I know I need it. I call my mom every time tax season peeks through my window. She doesn’t get mad; she’s just glad that I’m not accidentally committing tax fraud.
Asking for help never leads me astray, even when I don’t get the right answer. If I get something wrong, then I get one step closer to the solution. Every piece of good advice and mistake adds to my knowledge and allows me to mold myself into what I need for the task at hand. I think learning to swallow your pride and adapt while you’re young keeps me from feeling stagnant.
I may not possess everything I want right now, but I feel every bit of progress I achieve. With every new thing I learn, I complete a goal and move on to the next one. I take things one step at a time and fuel myself with the accomplishments I’ve accumulated thus far. Setting small goals for yourself is a lot less intimidating than trying to leap across an abyss to reach every expectation. I’m still moving forward and seeing what’s next.
Honestly, I don’t know, but I don’t care. If I have anything to do with it, my life won’t end in my mid-twenties. I’ll get to my forties before I realize it. Everything I do now will only be a drop in a bucket compared to the rest of my life, and I don’t know a clue about what those other drops hold. While I don’t necessarily go with the flow, I try to accept the fact that I don’t really hold complete control of my life. Sh-t happens, but I maintain control over how I react to it.
Instead of trying to map out my life, I give myself a loose outline. Who knows how things will turn out? I changed so much since I became an adult, so what will stop me from changing in the future? I don’t know what future me wants. The only way for me to know what I want is to do my best one day at a time. I’m only in my mid-twenties, so I don’t need to rush.