If you had told me at age 18 that I would be appreciating the humbling experiences that come with aging in my mid-20s, I’d call you a liar (and based on my temperament at that age, a whole host of other things). I can assure you my experiences leading up to this point and even my current circumstances are far from perfect. What I’ve come to learn with aging however, is that it isn’t so much the circumstances that have made aging meaningful, but the wisdom and the peace of mind that come with it. If you’ve had the privilege to make as many screw-ups as I have and still managed to learn a thing or two along the way, then I am certain some of my favorite parts of being 25 thus far will give you a newfound appreciation for getting older.
1. I care less and less about what anyone thinks of me.
There's no freedom like the "I don’t care what anyone thinks of me" freedom. I can't even begin to express the bondage that comes with making countless decisions based on how you would be perceived by other people. What's more amazing is that even after putting forth so much effort so that I didn’t become "that girl" I still became "THAT GIRL." Just for a different reason. Moral of the story: people will always have something to say, so you're better off using your energy doing things that make you happy.
2. I get to enjoy day drinking.
Goodbye to the days of drinking late into the midnight hour, then spending a whole day recouping! I am admittedly a sucker for happy hour on the patio, or a mimosa with brunch. Why wait until midnight to enjoy a drink when you can start early and still have enough energy to complete your to-do list the next morning? It's become a no-brainer for me. Besides, the sophistication of day drinking definitely beats spending a late night with your face submerged in a toilet. I'll toast to that.
3. I am finally starting to understand who is really in my corner.
When you get around to the big 25 you will probably start to notice that your support group will shrink tremendously, or at least mine did. Initially, I found this to be discouraging and even a little alarming. What I came to realize, however, was that this was a positive sign that I was really growing and making changes for the better. Truthfully, if I never outgrew anyone, I'd be more alarmed. I have truly learned to appreciate my relationships for what they are. I love having mutual friendships that I can enjoy and learn from, but when the going gets tough, I know who I can really lean on for support.
4. I accept and love all of my imperfections (seriously, all of them).
If I said I never had an off day, I'd be 100 percent lying, but for me, that has become the best part of accepting and loving myself unconditionally! I can really look at myself on any given day and say I may not be red carpet glamorous or feel the most confident in my abilities, but this is me and it is enough. Now this has been no easy feat, but after 20 plus years of ragging on my every imperfection, I realized that I really began to believe those negative comments that I was feeding to my spirit day in and day out. With 25 came the desire to love, and the understanding that love had to first come from within. When this concept resonated, so did the love of every SINGLE one of my imperfections.
5. I am okay with change.
Change happens regardless of whether we accept it or not. We can either roll with the tide or fight it tooth and nail, and for me personally, I got tired of fighting. I was spending days on end anxious about the what-if's and trying desperately to maintain my life bubble when a shift pushed its way through. But as I've said before, if you're not changing, you're not growing. I'd love to say that good old 25 handed me this life lesson like a badge of honor, but truthfully, major life changing events (like an unexpected pregnancy and later homelessness) seemed to bring the lesson home quicker. My life has seemingly become the epitome of the adage "what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger," and for that reason I know that wherever the tide takes me, I'll be okay.