How to measure 25
Updated: Aug 11
I recently turned 25, which I had been dreading in a vague existential way. I think I was mourning the end of my early 20s, which I dearly loved. From age 20 to now, I graduated college, took the LSAT, lived in Romania, lived in the Philippines, travelled around Asia, made amazing friends, moved to DC, worked irreverent jobs, worked life-changing jobs, became a sister all over again, saw siblings married, became an aunt and godmother, saw way more of America, went on some funny dates, went on some bad ones, created things for myself, grew in my faith, grew in community, got shitty bangs, conquered a really ugly season of depression, learned healthy coping skills, got into law school twice. I have THE best dinner party stories and that's all a gal can really ever ask for.
Saying goodbye to those years was bittersweet. I just loved them so much. Being halfway to fifty is scary. And looking around at the lives my friends are leading and not having any kind of similar trajectory is scary. Does everyone judge me for being single? What if I'm in no way planning on motherhood in the traditional sense? Will I ever afford a house? Will I ever live anywhere for more than a year and a half? My mom basically had 8 kids at my age!!!!
And yet when the big day rolled around, none of it actually mattered. I felt loved and celebrated by my friends. I Facetimed with my family and adorable goddaughter. I wrote down some good intentions for this year but decided not to sweat it with anything really measurable.
Besides I figured the only way to measure out a new age is to think about what I outgrew, grew into, or have yet to grow. There's no "25" song by Taylor Swift, so here's my own version of what to expect out of 25:
I'm Now Too Old To:
Audition for The Bachelor. Listen, will I get some flak for this? Maybe. But let's be serious here, folks. A 25 year old just doesn't make for good reality television drama. She doesn't get blackout wasted on the first night nor does she insert herself into drama. She actually has experience in her career and the producers don't have to come up with a fake job title like they have to do with the 21 year olds. We root for the 25+ gals. They'll do just fine without Brandon/Brendon/Chett/Chad/NBC Rush Pick of the Black Bachelor Despite Years of Merited Criticism. They all walk away with influencer sponsorship and new friends.
Hysterically cry to my parents, convinced I committed tax fraud or anxiously asking them to explain insurance just one more time for me. I can Google these things. I mean, I choose not to but I should.
Care about the next new social media platform. I followed along with TikTok just because it made it onto Instagram and there's some amazing creativity out there. But please, I don't know any of the influencers nor will I have the energy to learn about the next one the youth all flock to when Gen Z is deemed uncool.
Believe that the next big beauty must-have will magically get rid of all my insecurities. That rose water mist fad almost got me but the Insta girls using it all have flawless, well-rested skin because they're rich and 14. They are fresh from the womb. That's amniotic fluid, baby, and you just can't buy skin like that!
Be interested in any boy between the age of 18-24. This includes Timothée Chalamet. I'm sorry, Timothée. Our love can never be. My hips would squish you and you look like you reek of nicotine and cologne. I don't get your appeal and please, let Soairse Ronan be the vehicle of her own movies! Let her spread her wings and fly!
Ignore any internalized ableism, racism, homophobia, classism, or misogyny. Unfortunately, these things will be present within me as I discover them, but I am an adult. There are no excuses of any kind for ignorance at this point. It's my responsibility to do the hard, mortifying work of examining my own biases, unlearn prejudices, educate myself, and amplify voices of people who should be the ones speaking.
Receive birthday gifts from my parents apparently. I was promised help buying furniture for my new place which actually comes fully furnished so WAIT A HOT SECOND, MINDI AND KYLE....
Use the term "adulting". It's just called life at this point. Maybe it was cute when I was 21 and proud to have figured out how to order my own anti-depressants like a big girl, but it's unacceptable now.
I'm Just The Right Age To:
Play a teenager in Hollywood. I could basically star in Riverdale at this point. Or play a freshman with 36 DDDs like in Glee. Did you know the 16 year old brother in Hannah Montana was played by a 29 year old man??? Why aren't we talking about that more??
Rent a car. I will actually be doing this to move myself from DC to Indy in a few weeks and it is kind of a thrill. There's a big gap from getting to vote at 21 to um....nothing?? So it's nice that they gave us rental cars as something to look forward to.
Be politically active locally. I'm past the age of pleading ignorance for local and state politics. It's so crucial to hold our government accountable especially if they are squandering the youth's future. Here's an easy barometer to judge local politicians: does Tr*mp like them? Vote 'em out. Did they stay silent at any point since 2016? Vote 'em out. Do they put their lobbyist money before their constituents? Girl, bye.
Call out men when they step over the line. As a woman when you're growing up, you're so insecure of repercussions, or feel too small to speak up, or accept inappropriate behavior because no one else is saying anything. Now, be it professionally, socially, or romantically, if a man crosses a boundary, I call that sh*t out.
I'm Still Too Young To:
Be president? Let's be honest, there are so many wunderkind, 30-Under-30-Types who prove you're never really too young for anything. But this is weirdly a law so we'll stand by that. ((Although, come on, surely you can be too old to lead the free world, right?!))
Foster kids. This isn't legally true but it's something I know I'll do in my life and right now, I'm just not there yet. I'll start thinking about it when I'm at "yeah throw some queso on it; I know it's extra" rich.
Think I'm Stuck. What if I hate law school? What if I want to live in Romania for the rest of my life? What if I fall in love with someone from another country and get my own 90 Day Fiancé spin-off? What if Mindy Kaling finally emails me back and we write a screenplay for an extremely problematic modern-day retelling of 7 Brides for 7 Brothers? What I would hate to happen would be if I was too scared to explore any other alternative than what I think I'm planning for. I don't believe I'm stuck at 25, nor do I think anyone should feel that way at 50. Life is too precious for that ish.
Date a divorcé. Like I know the dating pool gets bleak around 30 but I'm not there yet.
Not be carded by bouncers. I like this one though. I'll keep it.
Act like I won't have an amazing rest of my 20s. If you're reading this and you're over the age of 25, then OMG, yay my demographic has really shifted! You're probably reading this, thinking "this girl is so young and talks like she was raised in the wilderness and learned English by watching Mean Girls on repeat". And to that...thank you, way to go, 4 for you, Glen Coco. It's good to remember that at some point, I'm going to look back and realize 25 was so young. And what a gift that will be!