You’ve always wondered what it would be like to reach this part of your life.
Ever the crazy imagination, but whatever fantasies of living in a loft apartment in New York, or hitch-hiking across South East Asia, or hopping onto the next train somewhere in Europe with no destination in mind, no matter how far you travelled, in all of your dreams, you were this:
And now, with nine days to go, here you are with pure knowledge that reality is never as fun as the whimsical dreams in your head.
Reality is messy. Messy hair you can’t be bothered to sort out because you’d rather have ten more minutes of sleep before another day at the office. Messy bedroom because all you want to do is fade away and ignore the hurricane path that is you, leaving a trail of the pieces you don’t pick up after yourself. A path of destruction that say I was here, I lived, I am living-
Reality is freedom loaded with responsibility. Of learning about tax and pension schemes and how to pay bills. It’s noticing that dad’s hair has never looked so grey before, that mum has never moved slower.
Your best friend is getting married. Another has had a child already. Someone else is engaged, dating, looking for love. Another, last you heard, was jailed for drug abuse. Another, hospitalised for chest pains you think were caused by stress but you’ll never know for sure.
Your mid 20s, you realise, is bullshit.
You spend your weekends disassociating, disappearing. It’s easier, you find, not to think about your dreams. You used to think about the future, next year, in five years, in ten years. Now you’re living day by day, and slowly etching out what you want for the next few months. Maybe.
Your mid 20s are different people doing different things.
It’s work, and more work, but never quite having enough money. It’s resenting the fact that you need to worry about money at all, and guilt because it’s such a privileged problem to have in the first place.
But it’s never enough.
Your friendships exist on a small screen in your hand. They’ll say you’re lazy and your generation doesn’t know how to socialise anymore. You want to tell them this is the only way we can socialise now but you know they won’t listen.
Your mid 20s is wanting to be treated like an adult, but you’re not ready to act like one yet.
It’s thinking Did I do enough Did I make the right choice Am I doing alright Will I grow to regret that Isthereanythingmore
It’s being anxiously told to find a life partner before it’s too late to win society’s approval. Its wondering if you actually don’t want a life partner, or if you just don’t like being told you need one. As if you’re only half by yourself when you are already, so, completely, whole.
Different people are doing different things.
They move forward, they branch out, and mold to their new lives, they stretch and grow and you-
You are stagnant.
You feel like you can’t move- one step forward could be in the wrong direction, but what’s the point in taking a step back instead?
Your mid 20s are this: missing the past but not wanting to go back. Closing your eyes and wanting to see stars, not darkness.
Your mid 20s are also this:
A single breath. And then another. And another, and another, until the air whirls through your lungs and whistles out between your lips.
A small dream; a tiny spark that ignites into a forest fire you don’t ever want to burn out.
A platform you didn’t know you were standing on, so you reach out your hands and help someone else join you.
An unfinished story splattered with old ink and older scribbles, but you can return to it any time you want, if at all.
A dawning realisation that you might not make it, but you’re going to try anyway.
So, in your mid 20s, do this:
And most of all?
Don’t ever, not for one second, think that you’re not good enough.
It’s only your mid 20s.
[based on this blog post by Poornima Baskar: “To the girl in her mid 20s“]