This past Saturday, I turned 25 years old. Birthdays are very weird days, especially when as of late you’ve been a pretty introspective person. I’ve already spent the last few weeks/months thinking about where I am in life, where I want to be, what I need to do to get there, etc., and my birthday only intensified these thoughts.
Truth be told, I didn’t think much about these things on my actual birthday. I spent the weekend in Minneapolis, where my awesome friends from school all flew in to give me an amazing birthday weekend. They flew in from Knoxville, Chicago, and West Lafayette IN. They all said that they were budgeting a trip to North Dakota for my wedding this summer, and now that’s not happening so they wanted to make sure I turned 25 in style.
Out to my birthday dinner downtown
I can’t even get over how amazing these girls are. They know my life’s been pretty crappy as of late, so they wanted to make sure I know that they are there for me. I’ve seen one of these lovely ladies as recently as this past November, but others I haven’t seen since graduation almost 3 years ago!
Boy, did we miss each other 🙂
Now I am back in Fargo and back to work, so I’m thinking more about what it means to be another year older. The most important thing is that I feel refreshed. I know a lot of people put stock in New Year’s; they think that too much negative stuff happened in the last year so they are ready to turn over a new leaf. I’ve never really been like that (probably because I’m a teacher, so for me the new year starts in August). I do feel like I have something of a fresh start now. Some pretty crappy stuff happened when I was 24. Now that I’m 25, I feel slightly more distanced from the bad stuff and realize I have a whole new year to start fresh.
Though feeling refreshed, I also feel somewhat conflicted. When I was 13 or 14, I thought 25 was ANCIENT. I fully expected to be married with a kid or 2 by now (like my mom was). Now that I am 25, I still feel like I’M the kid. Even though I have two bachelor’s degrees, have a salaried job, and bought my own car, I don’t feel like an adult. My sister put it best with the picture she posted of me on my birthday (since that’s what 20-year-olds apparently do):
Side note: how adorable is she?
I’ve seen all sorts of things (mainly on BuzzFeed) about how being in your mid-20s isn’t what it used to be. These are usually some sort of list titled “25 Things that Happen After You Turn 25,” “20 Reasons it is Good to Be Single When You are 25,” etc, etc. These lists generally make the point that people in their mid-20s often have different expectations and are at different places in their lives than their parents were at that age. I have to say, these articles make me feel so. much. better. about myself, because that’s exactly how I feel. My mom got married when she was 22, had me when she was 23, had my brother at 26, and my sisters at 28 and 30. I grew up thinking I would be exactly like her. I wanted to be a young mom so I can keep up with my kids (and then still be relatively young when they are all grown and out of the house so I can enjoy the empty nest).
I still want to be a young mom, but I might not even be married by the time I’m 30 (let alone have 4 children). That was stressing me out when I first ended my engagement to C, but I’m learning to accept it. Being single at 25 is ok. Just because I haven’t started a family yet doesn’t mean I’ll never have one. In fact, I’m not totally sure I’m mature enough to have my own family yet.
I think society in the upper Midwest is very different than in the rest of the country. Here, you are kind of expected to settle down after college and start having kids. In the rest of the country, you don’t even consider that until you turn 30. Here’s a good example of this: my friends from Notre Dame live in Chicago, Chicago, Chicago, Dallas, Knoxville, and West Lafeyette. One of these friends has been with her boyfriend for almost 2 years, another has been dating someone for 7 months, and the rest are single. My close friends from high school are completely different: one is married and pregnant with her second child, another is married, another is engaged, and the fourth has been dating her boyfriend for something like 4 years and is looking towards engagement.
I’m not saying one way is better than the other. I just found myself feeling pressured based on what everyone else was doing. Part of me resisted ending my engagement (even though I knew that was the best and healthiest choice for me) because the idea of starting over at 25 was scary. I didn’t want to be the only single girl around. I was tired of always being the bridesmaid and not having a permanent date for all these weddings. Now that I actually am 25, I’m getting rid of all those thoughts. It doesn’t matter what society says I should or shouldn’t be doing (except in the case of laws…I will continue to follow the law so I don’t go to jail). What matters is figuring out who I am as a person and who I want to be. So I’m 25 and single. So what? I have a good job, an amazing family, and an awesome group of friends. I can still be happy. And I think once I figure out how to be truly happy with myself I will find the man who will take me off the market forever.
Please back me up on this blogging world–it’s ok to be 25 and single right? And it’s ok to still feel pretty young, yes?