Just this morning I said out loud to my boyfriend, “Ya know, I don’t think I breathe very much.”
I’m 26 years old.
Last year when I turned 25, that wasn’t nearly as stressful as 26 seemed to be. All of a sudden, I realized that there was great potential in things going uphill in terms of numerical age and downhill in terms of life expectations, and somewhere in between my 25th birthday and 26th birthday, I had to have realized it because I had these symptoms:
1) I wanted to travel everywhere including to every place that I’ve lived in since my birth “just to see it.”
2) Everyday that I woke up, I realized that I was 26.
3) Driving by any place at all caused flashbacks of “that one time when I was a kid.”
4) I realized I didn’t have any kids and the majority of my friends were on their second ones. And married.
5) I would refer to my cat as my cat-child. (Sometimes I still do. Don’t judge.)
People always talk about the mid-life crisis, but recently bouts of quarter-life crisis have come up and I realize what that’s all about — societal expectations of what you should be doing at every significant milestone. But it’s up to me to stop it. Parents and elders and the like, including those who’ve hit it big all of a sudden and can afford to sit pool side on a Tuesday, say that “today is the first day of the rest of your life.” And then all of a sudden when you get to your mid 20s, those same people say, “What are you doing? Get moving!” and you struggle to say, “Well…today’s the first day of the rest of my life! I can technically start today and be fine. Right?”
Well, you can. Just try to experience something new every day. Whether it’s a new documentary on YouTube. A free wine tasting in the grocery store. A new photo series online. A way to tour Africa in Google Maps. Do whatever makes you happy without driving yourself crazy in the process. Learn something new. That way when anybody asks, you won’t sound like you’re just surviving instead of thriving.
There are societal pressures. There are familial pressures. Pressures from your significant other. But the only pressures that should really matter are the pressures that you put on your own shoulders because you’re the one living your life, nobody else’s. And nobody else is living your life. So the only thing YOU have to promise yourself is to just wake up in the morning and continue to put one foot in front of the other and breathe. Because if you don’t, then you just might suffocate at the end of your 20s.
And who wants that? It’s the first day of the rest of your life!