In the village where I was born and raised, being 25 was synonymous to ‘when I grow up’. After 25, therefore, the script was meant to change from ‘when I grow up I want to be XYZ’ to ‘I am that person I used to dream about’. There is the general delusion that between 25 and 30, life is about breakthrough after breakthrough, gaining identity (Both individually and by extension), happiness, success and every dream come true.
Nothing close. This age bracket is about excelling in your side hustle as the chief-chef of wrong choices and about perfecting the art of serving yourself with humble pies. Remember those childhood/campus days of ‘who? Me? I can never do that, my pride cannot even let me think of such a thing and stuff like that? This phase makes you a master/mistress in the art of eating that pride with quiet manners.
Quarter life crisis…
Dating: If you are not already married or dealing with baby daddy/baby mama issues; you are most likely stuck in your love life.
You possibly are dating- which really is a veneer for ‘I am in a relationship with a person I am unsure of’. You cannot blame either of you because even though the heart wanted what it wanted when you met; it might have changed its mind over time. It is at this point when you begin to question more, love more or opt out in an attempt to embark on a journey of what they call ‘gaining self awareness/discovery’.It is a defining stage for most relationships.
You possibly are single, but feeling increasingly unfulfilled by dates or encounters that lead to nothing.
Or you are in the grey area where you always have someone/people looking for you but that is just that. Of people who talk, meet, flirt, occasionally sext/make out, catch drinks and reset their status quo. There are never plans beyond the night out plans. You also deliberately blind yourself to the future beyond a few minutes away; and you subtly avoid use of words like exclusivity or commitment. A gen Z kid would tell you that you have not DTRd…(Which simply means
that you have not Defined The Relationship)
Identity. Adulthood is about finding your identity; beyond your superficial career, networks, social standing and everything in between. Past the image of who you are and what you are about. You start seeking your identity. But really, half of the time, seeking your identity will mean second guessing yourself. Am I on the right track, is this what I want, do I need this, should I do this, what is my purpose, do I further my studies or focus on my career for now, am I lagging behind…
You learn to calm your nervous self with a quiet mask, become a therapist of your inadequacies and pick to becoming your own cheerleader. You talk to yourself more often and you slowly start drawing the line between who you are and what you are.
Mistakes. You will serve yourself to mistakes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. At some point, you might just shake your own hand to congratulate yourself for the special ability when it comes to making the wrong life choices because if you don’t, who else will? But what is surprising is the way you look around for people and objects to blame. You even have days you wake up determined to detox and have a complete overhaul of the friends you have in your life because ‘hamsaidiani’-you are not helping each other. (Just for the record, no one owes you anything).
In the unfortunate cases of break ups, you automatically take social media breaks to resuscitate the followers you had chocked with jealousy with the illusion of how perfectly perfect you two were and what relationship goals were made of. Thing about break ups at this age is that they get more tragic, more because there is a way your family feels like it is their job to make this relationship work by sun or by rain. Unless of course, you can convince them that the functioning of your biological clock is not their responsibility.
Daydreams. By default, you become a day dreamer. You either have a salary to manage, or some income from running businesses here and there; or in the very fortunate cases, both. But even if you look at this money with a microscope or magnifying lenses, there is just no way it can take you where you used to see yourself.
You will spend countless hours consulting your head on ways of making more money, moving to a better neighborhood, getting a car or a better car, having a fat bank account… You know, stuff that will sooth your ego on bad days and boost your social status because we are born needy of social acceptance. If you are not careful, you will find yourself caught in the agile uncomfortable state where you are constantly on the lookout for what you lack: where you want to be as opposed to where you are. Piece of advice? It takes time, all good things take time child.
Comparison. You constantly compare yourself to your friends who are your age. At 25, 26, 27 and so on; your peers find love, date successfully, look happy and get married… On weekends, you become a moving tent as you move from one wedding to another, baby shower after baby shower, bridal/stag party after another. It is happy. It is sad at the same time. It is almost impossible not to look at your own life and wonder which streets of love people are walking that you are not. Again- all good things take time, so take a step at a time; in your own lane and at your own pace.
The beauty of this phase lies in the haze, the uncertainty, the failures, the successes, the skipped heartbeats in love and the ones missed in utter disappointment. I just wanted to let you know that we are all together in this, and to remind you that you are perfectly on track in your lane in this life.