You are wearing Quarter Life Crisis on your sleeves
This is the part of being 25 you are so good at. Trying to make the puzzle pieces fit, trying to figure out what you want, trying to reach your goals, trying to change, trying to lay out a plan, trying to make a difference for the greater good (or, often than not, for your own good.) Everything is all about trying, isn’t it?
Everything at 25 seems like a mystery that it usually doesn’t make any sense. You sleep at night feeling so jumpy and happy, but you wake up the next day with an extremely troublesome feeling that springs from nowhere. Well, let me tell you where that sick-to-the-stomach feeling comes from. One word. Uncertainty. Because last night, you went to bed knowing that you have a plan, believing that your life is just where you want it to be, but today you wake up realizing that you have no idea where exactly you really want it to be. That’s what quarter-life crisis does, it hits you on the forehead with a big bang.
This is the year when you are bombarded with so many questions that you’ve lost all the energy to come up with even one answer. People asks you all the time: “when are you getting married?” and you just want to punch them in the face for asking the wrong question.
Your friends from a younger age group keep asking you for advice about life, career, and relationships. They ask you “how you do it” and you smile and give them encouraging words of wisdom, or more specifically, you tell them the most impressive answer you can come up with because that is what they expect from you. But hell, what they don’t know is that, at 25, you really have no idea if you’re doing things right.
The best advice I can tell you right now is not to worry too much about all these uncertainties. You screwed up? You’re not good enough? You failed? You got rejected? That’s alright! You’re 25!
You are definitely smarter, but certainly not wiser
Congratulations! This is the point in your life where you can show everyone that you have quick-witted intelligence. Finally, you have a career you can humble-brag about at social gatherings, you have control over your life, you have a steady income at your disposal, you are responsible for what you eat, and you can be so proud that you know how to take care of yourself, damn it!
However, this is still not the point where you have enough experience, knowledge, and good judgment. And I know this for the fact that you still go to the clubs, or the bars in the hopes of hooking up with someone. I told you, you still lack better judgment!
But hey, 25 is the year where there is no such thing as age-appropriate. It’s not like the movies where you can say it’s PG or R18. No, 25 is a much complex age than these ratings. It is the time when you are just always somewhere in between. You’re in the middle of too naive and too mature, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
25 is the year when you can make mistakes and be given a free jail-card pass. It is the year when you are still young enough to smoke hash while listening to Armin van Buuren on the background, but you are old enough to invest in something worthwhile, like planning a 4-day holiday, watching the news, reading a decent book (and by decent I don’t mean the Twilight saga!)
You are not invincible
But you can certainly try. You are the young, ambitious, adventurous beast that you imagine you are, until that Friday you decided to stay home than go on an all-night out with your friends. From a packet of Marlboro reds a day, you now cut down to ten sticks because of the heaviness you started feeling.
Do not mistake this as being boring, you are just realizing that you need an eight hour sleep and give your lungs a break to stay in good shape.
At 25, you want it all–a social life in hyper motion, a career that pays really well, a relationship minus the drama. You want to make the world a better place, you try to understand the complications of human relationships, you try to engage into political issues, you try to make sense out of nonsense, and you try to find beauty in ugly. You fear. You hope.
When you’re 25 everything about yourself is in your control. There are no more puppet strings pulling you left and right. You can decide for yourself. No one is going to tell you what to do, and even if you are told what to do, the decision is still yours to make. That’s the thing though, being in control means being responsible for everything that you do. You have to put an effort to look after yourself. Eat well, go to work on time, read, play video games, stop playing video games, attend your meetings, do not forget to take a shower. Where your life is heading at 25 is your choice because you are the driver, I can only hope that you will take the best possible route.
You are not on the same page as your friends
Let’s go back to the good, old university days. Remember those friends you spent an all-nighter with for that last final exam? Yeah. They’re also the same friends you had to drag home when they got too wasted to even remember who they are. Where are they now? Do you still talk to them? Or have you settled in just looking at their facebook updates without really saying hi?
At 25, you will start feeling as though you are not on the same wavelength as your old friends. It seems that maturity kicks in on different time zones. Some people grow up much faster than others, and it just so happens that you feel slightly older than some people you know. Or vice versa.
It’s like all of a sudden, you are not in sync with your friends anymore. Your priorities are different from theirs. Your lifestyle and theirs don’t match anymore. The gap between you and the people you used to spend so much time with is becoming palpable every hour.
You look at their Facebook pages and you wonder who this person is. I’m pretty sure they’re doing the same thing–lurking at your wall posts and almost failing to recognize who you are. Unlike before where you always use final exams or alcohol as an excuse to bond, you find no reason to talk to each other anymore.
Maybe they still prefer spending Saturday in a bad state of hungover and you don’t want that anymore. Or you prefer spending Saturday drunk and they don’t want that anymore.
You lose touch with your friends sometimes. It’s sad, but it happens. Maybe you’ll meet new friends who are on the same page as you, just keep hoping that the same thing will happen to your old friends too. But 25 is a really cheeky year, it’s an age of transformation and growing on so many different levels and at different timelines, so who knows? Maybe at one point, you and your old friends will be back on the same track again.
You are just getting started
Back when you were 20, everyone seems to ask you “where do you see yourself five years from now?” Remember how you used to look out in your future and see nothing but an empty space? Well, gone are those days of looking for an answer, because you have your answer, right here, right now. 25 is all about defining who you are. For the first time, you are aware of who you are–what you are capable of doing and not doing.
The things you are good at? You marvel in it. The things that you are not so good at? You make a way to be good at it. For once, you are not distracted with the petty dramas of everyday life. You are not the 19 year old kid who locks himself/herself in the room for being rejected. You know how to move on. You learned that there is more to life than torturing yourself for your shortcomings.
You are still far from where you want to be, but you take comfort in knowing that you are actually doing something to get there. Emphasis on ‘actually’. You are starting to understand that disappointments and failures are bound to happen, but that won’t let you down. If anything, it will keep you going because that’s what 25 year olds do–prove the world they’re wrong about you–that you are much better than the world assumes you to be.
If you’re 25 and your ideals and expectations seem to be going the wrong direction; if you feel like you have your life mapped out only to find yourself in a maze; if you can feel straight up happy and spiral down to sad in a span of 10 minutes, if you are confident, delusional, humble, arrogant, ideal, optimistic, pessimistic, confused, sleepy, lazy, giddy, carefree, silly, untroubled, troubled, high, drunk, overjoyed, content, discontent all in the same day, don’t fret. You’re doing 25 right!
So, if you’re 25, this is the time for you to make all your rules and break them. Go high, go low. Be sane, be insane, be a little bit of both, or somewhere in between.
And just in case you missed it when they made the big announcement on national TV, life starts at 25! So, celebrate, embrace it, live in that moment because you can. You’re only 25 once, might as well make it a hell of a good one!