So this is it: I’m a quarter century old! I haven’t really been big on my birthdays, but I’ve been thinking about this one for a while. This feels like the start of a new period in my life. Up to now, I’ve been going to school. I’ve thought a bit about what I’d like to do, tried, failed, and it feels like I’ve been kind of waiting for a life beyond school to come within reach. Now, it seems like I’m finally getting there.
Even though this last year has had some really difficult moments, and I’ve learned that life doesn’t always go the way we want it to, I’m still so hopeful about this year of life ahead of me. There are 6 things in particular that I want to focus on.
Spend More Time on Things that Matter to Me
I’m learning more and more how important time is. It’s finite, and no matter how we spend it, it’s gone after we use it! When I think back to how I spent the last few years, I realize that I spent a lot of that time on feelings and activities that didn’t really make me happy. I’ve procrastinated, turned down opportunities to do things I’ve really wanted to do, people-pleased, and spent too much time being sad & insecure. Now, I want to take opportunities because I genuinely want them, not because they’re available and they seem like they’d look good. I don’t want to make decisions about my future based on what other people want. I want to make decisions based on the kind of life I’d like to live. I want to get better at saying no–to opportunities, things, and people that aren’t what I want. At the same time, I want to get better at saying yes to what gets me unquestionably excited, even if it makes me nervous. I don’t want to let my insecurities get in the way of making the most of my life. They’ve had enough of my time.
Explore the Careers I’m Interested In
I’m finding that we can’t outrun our interests. I’ve been interested in designing things since I was a kid, and even though I’ve pursued other things, my design interest has been tugging at me for the past two years or so. This year, I want to get some exposure to the field and see whether it’s something I can see myself doing. I’ll take a course, find a part-time job in a related field, go to events and/or try to make some contacts. Careers are huge decisions and something I’ll need to pray about, but gathering information probably wouldn’t hurt.
Get to Know Someone I’m Dating
So far, I’ve been treating dating a bit like a game. I’ve been meeting different people and then trying to stay one step ahead of them so I don’t get hurt. This approach has been helpful in terms of helping me to learn about what’s important to me in a guy, but it hasn’t been very good in terms of allowing me to get to know someone. I’ve been bouncing from first date to first date, avoiding second and third dates, and trying hard not to get attached because I’m all too aware that they might ghost me or lose interest. But I think it’s time I let my guard down a bit and be open to getting to know a guy over several dates.
When I think about the kind of life I want to build for myself, it’s really important to me to help people regularly and be part of a community. It’s so easy to develop a lifestyle that revolves solely around me and what I want, and I really want to avoid that. I want to get involved in some kind of organization or activity where I can be in a group that’s focused on the wellbeing of others. Even though building a career, dating, and growing up are exciting, there’s not a lot of things that can top the feeling of helping someone or knowing that you belong somewhere.
Organization, timeliness, and routines have been an absolute struggle for me since I was a little kid. Paper piles up on my desk, I usually find myself doing things at the last minute to meet a deadline, and it’s not uncommon that I’m finding myself with a lot less time to get somewhere or do work because I’ve lost track of time. All of this makes me feel like my life is running ahead of me, and that I’m always trying and failing to catch up with it. It’s stressful, and with higher stakes higher at this point in my life (i.e. my bad habits could undermine career- and relationship-building opportunities), I really can’t afford to be disorganized anymore. I need to develop a routine and stick to it, and just do what I have to do instead of waiting for a “perfect” time or putting it off indefinitely. My life will be so much less stressful that way!
Maintain a Social Life
I tend to neglect my social life when I have other things going on. I love people (yes, introverts love people), but because I don’t need a lot of social activity to keep me going, it can be a while before I realize that I haven’t been paying attention to my social life. I want to go out more. After all, my 20s is the time when I can do all the things I’ve dreamed about doing since I was a kid (girls’ nights out in sparkly dresses, dancing the night away, listening to live music in a cute restaurant somewhere), so I shouldn’t waste them. Yes, I’m broke (#gradschoollife) but I’m not so broke that I can’t afford a $10 comedy show ticket once or twice a month.
Cheers to an amazing year ahead! I know birthdays are one time things, but I feel ready to celebrate the whole year! And if it’s your birthday today: happy birthday, you beautiful person! May this be a year that surpasses your dreams!
Question: what were/are you doing at age 25? If you’re not 25, what do you hope to be doing when you are?
Image via SC Stock Shop
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