Today I turn twenty-five. And as I sit at home in the fervently air conditioned condo I share with my mom, eating oatmeal and sipping a grande iced coffee from Starbucks in my ripped up hand-me-down onesie, I think, Is this what you thought twenty-five would look like? The expectation of “getting our shit together” has been completely revolutionized in the past five years or so (perhaps not in a good way?). Things aren’t as they were for generations before us.
What has come with this birthday is the realization of this simple fact: twenty-five looks a lot different than it did just a few years ago. In 2008, a then-25-year-old friend of mine got married and now has an adorable babe. She had graduated just in time to escape the wrath of a bursting housing bubble in the United States that rippled throughout the entire globe. I remember that year quite clearly. I was an eager 20-year-old ready to start a life and career in the food and beverage industry. When the recession hit and one of the two bars at which I worked went bankrupt, I had no choice but to move back in with my mom and reconsider university or college. I remember my life goals evaporating before my eyes. I felt a loss of independence and hope.
Now at twenty-five, with an expensive degree, mounting debt and few job prospects, I am faced with the same quarter-century dilemma as many of my friends. After graduating just last month, I am still bombarded with questions. “What are you going to do now?”, “Where are you going to work?”, “Are you doing a Master’s?”, “Will you travel?”, “What job can you get with your degree?”(We all know the answer to that one is none.) What’s a gal to do?
At first, of course, I was freaking out. Each resume I sent off was like carving a new letter in my gravestone, each interview forced my heart to plummet to the depths of my intestines and each day off was filled with bitterness and fear that I will never amount to anything.
So now what?
I have no desire to own a house or have a lake-view condo. I accept that my career path will look more like a job-hunt Etch-a-Sketch, and the prospects of giving children with any sort of financial stability will realistically have to wait until my mid-thirties (if I choose to ever have them kids at all). The key to surviving this dilemma is just acceptance and lots of laughter/tears. Once I realized that this pattern of inconsistency and instability isn’t going to change, save my minimum wage, severelypart-time gig as a barista, I might as well have fun while doing this whole “life” thing. I guess this is what our twenties are all about… instability, growth, change and, well, acceptance of the unpredictable. And the acceptance that sometimes, you’ve just got to blast The Cure while taking a break from millions of internship applications and cut a damn good rug.