This Is 25

25 feels like ripping up dreams and filling out applications for new, less-shiny versions of those dreams you've nourished since childhood.

It feels like hope, and hope deferred.

Sometimes it's really happy. Sometimes it's quite depressing, but 25 is adult and it doesn't make excuses.

25 is waiting and waiting and rushing and making mistakes.

This is the numerical equivalent of the "I'll-have-my-shit-together-by-then" essays you'd written in 5th grade, and 9th grade and upon gradution.

It is the age where you can no longer lean on those essays, those 'letters to a future me' -all so ambitiously stocked, line-by-line, with things you thought you'd be.

The years before 25 aren't naive. They aren't ignorant or inexperienced or discredited. The years before 25 are so incredibly important. They make 25 real. They make it a milestone -a mountain peak to look back and forward from.

There are lots of powerful transitions, and perfect moments and certain days of the week that you very specifically try to plot out an escape plan just in case everything you're working for blows up in your face.

The deep breaths feel a bit heavier when you reach the 25th year. They come between anxiety and indecision and forks in the road. But they also come early in the morning and late at night as reassurance that you're doing just fine.

And the way you feel about your own soul changes. -This is wonderment.

The way you carry the sum of all experiences and stories of who you are, changes. It's more sure. The feeling is, somehow, so much more secure and also insecure about the amount of security you gain because it is an uplifting, beautiful thing. -This is why 25 feels like a coming of age. Feels like you actually leave one age and enter another.

Plus, all the forms go from like 18-24, and then 25-40 or something like that. And it's odd to be in the next bracket up.

25 is the age where you can no longer fall back on the "I'm in college, so it's fine" kind of living. And that is both the scariest feeling and the most liberating...unless you possess a certain tenacity for the academic lifestyle and go for a graduate degree. (Good for you. I would die.)

25 is the year you start to really hate yourself and it is, (perhaps more importantly), the year you start to really love yourself. It hits you like the loans you have to pay back or like the moment you say "I love you," for the first time.

Things you did for fun before your 25th year don't appeal quite as much, but new interests, really purposeful, deep-seated amusements conspire from the traveling or experiences you've had up 'til now.

25 is the only birthday where I've felt the distance -the distance from one year to the next.

25 is so weird, because you never feel like you'll actually make it there. And then you do, and there's a level of excitement that falls on your shoulders, but there's also an aggression that rips from inside of you. It's honest. It's the drive to prove yourself. To be something. To be the purpose and the passion and to finally live each day with both of them as the reigns.

25 is more than I thought it'd be. It is not disappointment. It is not dependency and it does not put up with decent pay or little steps. It craves cliff jumping and career. Cold water and cold-press coffee, straight.

And for however terrifying or daring or stagnant or stubborn I turn out to be this year, I know it's going to be an adventure. -That's all I ever wrote about when I was little and I thought of my future self.

ThoughtsMeagan Young