It’s Happened: 25 Has Come for Me

Nov 27, 2014 by

3          Friends, I’ve been dreading 25 since 22, specifically since July 14, 2012, the day my then 25-year-old cousin got married. Her wedding was four days after I quit the job that I had let become my life. As a result, the days leading up to her wedding were characterized by a high like nothing I was capable of feeling in the more than four years since I had begun working for that company. But the moment I stepped into the hall to celebrate her marriage, I came crashing back down to my normal: hating my life. I sat at a table not far from the head table, listening to her new husband say nice things about her while I silently cried, thanking the God I don’t believe in that all eyes were on them and the hall was too dim to light my tears.

          My cousin and I are a little less than three years apart. Even though we’ve never been close (simply by consequence of me not being close to my extended family in general), she was my favourite cousin growing up. Honestly, I think it was because she was the prettiest. By 18, I was literally pretending to be her. It was her ID that I used to get into clubs before I was legally allowed; and, on her wedding day, it was that memory that scared the shit out of me. Because I followed so closely behind her in age that I was able to successfully spend my 18th year passing as her, it dawned on me that 25, which had previously felt far older than 22, wasn’t much older at all. Really, I was growing very close to 25. Unlike my beautiful cousin though, I wouldn’t be wearing a wedding dress during my 25th year. Truthfully, I worried that I’d never wear one at all. I had given up on marriage altogether by that point, because I had given up on the possibility of ever having a boyfriend.

          I broke tears in that reception hall, because I realized it didn’t matter that I had freed myself from a job I hated. Quitting wasn’t enough. Quitting wouldn’t fix me. Whether I worked for that company or not, I wasn’t happy, because it wasn’t just my job that sucked; it was my life. Even though I knew at 22 that I didn’t want to be married by 25, what bothered me was that I wasn’t even close. I had never had a boyfriend (still true). I hadn’t slept with a guy since I lost my virginity over three years prior. I also hadn’t been out with a guy in over three years. Fuck, I hadn’t even kissed a guy in years. I cried to Olivia about all of it, to which she responded, “But you’ll travel.”

          At 22, those words didn’t have much weight. Today, at 25, I fully appreciate their significance. Somehow, when happiness was still a myth to me and The Happiness Experiment wasn’t a spark in my mind, my best friend had faith that I would do what I wanted to do on my own terms. What I didn’t understand at 22 was that everyone else’s timeline didn’t matter. I didn’t have to be married or have a boyfriend by a certain age. I wouldn’t need at 25 what someone else had at 25. My want was to travel Europe, which I’ve done three more times since that day. My hope was to have friends, which I now have a plethora of. My need was to be happy by my own standards, which it still blows my mind to say with pride that I am. Because of The Happiness Experiment, I no longer measure my life against anyone else’s. There’s no reason to when you already love your own.

          Before The Happiness Experiment, I had a history of hating my birthday. It reminded me of how far I hadn’t come. Last year, I decided that was no longer going to be the case. I was going to start celebrating what I had, because I had finally created something worth commending. Twenty-four was a whirlwind of a year: I broke and rebuilt the most important friendship of my life, I said goodbye to my favourite home, I unexpectedly booked a flight to Italy, I quit my job, and I went on my dream trip to Europe to find that it wasn’t what I wanted anymore. Confession (I haven’t even told my best friend this): I also found my first grey hair, which I pulled out and pretended never happened. My youngest sister found my second. She removed it and tactfully joined me in pretend. I proceeded accordingly with my third, fourth, and fifth grey hairs. I’ve lost count of them now, but there have been no more than 10, I swear, including the one I plucked last night. All grey hairs and moments I’ve felt totally lost aside, I’ve maintained my beautifully stubborn state of happiness that reflects my own values.

          As for my 25th birthday, it has been my best yet: I’ve had four birthday cakes this year, Olivia and my family either stayed up until midnight or woke up at midnight to sing me happy birthday, I’ve spent all day responding to the wonderfully overwhelming amount of birthday messages I’ve received from friends, the best best friend in the world (mine) surprised me with tickets to Cabaret in New York City this Saturday, and I’m home. I’m home to the incredibly happy life I made possible for myself. I’m going to rock 25, friends. I know it. And I’m going to rock it my way, on my own time.

Happiness Tip: Everyone else’s timeline doesn’t matter.

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