There’s something about turning 25 that feels much more monumental than turning 23 or 24. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m officially as close to 30 as I am to 20, or maybe it’s the realization that I am standing on the edge looking out at the second quarter of my life. Probably a bit of both. Regardless, my birthday last week felt like a Birthday™.
I live in constant fear of stagnating. I have a desperate need to feel like I’m moving towards something, to know I am making some sort of progress. I want to be able to point to marks on the timeline of my life and know I accomplished something concrete. This means that every year around my birthday my brain demands to know what I accomplished over the last year.
What did I do?
Did I really even do anything?
Another year gone and what do I have to show for it?
I’m never going to accomplish anything at this rate.
And repeat, ad nauseum.
That voice was particularly strong this year on account of it being a Birthday™. The quarter life crisis is real, y’all. I still haven’t finished a full draft of anything. I’m working at a tedious job that does less than great things for my mental health while watching friends go off and pursue their dreams in grad school. It’s hard not to feel like I’m just stuck spinning my wheels.
Luckily, I have some amazing friends who pointed out I did a lot of other things. I joined a kickboxing gym. I adopted a cat. I won NaNoWrimo for the first time ever. I learned *a lot* about myself. I got a psychiatrist and started taking anti-depressants. I bought a new car. Joe and I went camping in New York. I went to the Boston Teen Author Festival.
These might not be the exact type of accomplishments my obsessive and anxious mind focuses on, but they’re still pretty awesome. And I deserve to feel good about all of them, especially because some of them would have been entirely unheard of a year ago.
More importantly, a lot of these accomplishments have helped to set me up for new, bigger accomplishments this year. For example, I joined a gym gym last weekend. With weights and a pool and sweaty testosterone monsters everywhere. I’ve even been working with a personal trainer (though admittedly I don’t know how often I’ll get to do that once my free sessions end tomorrow, but still!) These are all things I would have never been able to do a year ago with my anxiety, but here I am.
Finishing NaNoWriMo taught me a lot about my writing process. For one thing it taught me NaNoWriMo is not my writing process, but I needed to do it properly once to really know that.
Probably most importantly, this will be the first full year of me taking Lexapro to help manage my depression and anxiety. The demons are still there, I still feel them sometimes, but they are quite as heavy or as frequent these days, and that makes a world of difference in every single aspect of my life.
I’m feeling pretty good looking into year 25. In a month I’ll be in Eastern Europe on an EF Ultimate Break trip I’ve been making payments on for over a year, finally feeding my wanderlust for the first time since I studied abroad in college. And I think I already know what trip I’ll be booking next. I have a few stories I’m really excited about and I really truly believe this is the year I’ll finish one of them–or at least finish a solid first draft. I’m doubling down on my fitness goals and starting to do some real actual strength training, something that has intimidated me for years. I’m also probably going to adopt another cat, but that’s really neither here nor there.
Oh. I also started off year 25 by doing something I’ve wanted to do for ages, but was always to scared to actually do. Because I’ve discovered and embraced a lot about who I am in the last year. And I can’t think of a better way to start another chapter in my life than by getting an incredibly badass haircut.