aging · feelings · getting old

An Angsty, Anxious, Aging Millenial

My birthday is coming up. I will be 25 years old, and I’m completely dreading it. When I was younger, birthdays were a BLAST. Parties, presents, cake, and a day all about me. The big birthdays I can remember, like turning 16 and being able to drive, or turning 18 and being able to get into nightclubs (hey, it was important then!) But now, birthdays are just another day. And I’m not even that old. BUT I’m old enough that the “magic” is gone. I still have to get up and go to work on my birthday. I still have to pay bills that day. The world doesn’t stop because it’s my birthday.

The biggest change for me is the feeling that I’ve gotten an entire year older, and what have I done with that year? What have I accomplished?

I’ll admit it – I’m a control freak. And I’ve always had this “timeline” for the way my life should go. A loose plan, but a plan nonetheless. The realization that my life isn’t the way I planned/wanted it is hard to swallow. Not that I haven’t done some of the things I wanted to do, like going to Europe, or graduate magna cum laude from college. I’m fairly accomplished for someone my age, and I have a lot of blessings. But sometimes that doesn’t matter. Sometimes I’m just angry and frustrated and I feel STAGNANT. What is it about human nature (or maybe just my human nature) that needs change? That never feels satisfied? Part of me is glad for that push for change because it keeps my goals high. But it also forces me to feel like I’m not “good enough”. Like I haven’t done enough. I get really tired of feeling that way.

Anxiety plays a part, of course, as it does with everything in my life (but that’s a story for another post).

So why can’t I just be happy? Why can’t I open up my heart to getting older? Why can’t I be enough for myself? Why do I have to cower in fear the week before my birthday comes?  So many people have it worse than I do and I’m sitting here whining about it and asking 20 million “why” questions.

Another big issue for me turning 25 is the most personal of all. I recently lost a very dear friend of mine. She was only 25. Her life was cut short, and that makes me want to make the most of mine, and to make memories for myself that she wasn’t able to. The trouble with that is, I feel like I’m unable to make the most of mine. I feel like I’m ignoring my potential to go farther. I get too caught up in the schedule of working and of the day-to-day normalcies that I’m afraid to stray from.

You know what? Let’s push the limits. Let’s stop holding ourselves back. Let’s focus on what we can do and what we have, and not what we can’t. Just by going back and rereading this post I see that I’m being Debbie Downer on myself. I’ve still got a lot of life ahead of me, even though it feels like I’m stuck. So I’ll get unstuck. I can’t promise that I won’t still feel anxious and a little sad about my birthday. But having an unrealistic list of things to accomplish by a certain age is just that – unrealistic. I don’t want to be guided by a misguided list. Here’s to me putting the “happy” back into my happy birthday. Thanks for listening 🙂