On January 23, 2014, I turned 25.
Many say turning 25 is a pivotal moment in your twenty-something life. It’s a time where you begin to change and turn into the adult you are meant to be. Also known as… the quarter-life crisis. As one who scoffs at the idea that your age and not your life experiences define your outlook on the world, I am now
eating choking on my own words. I now know it’s not one or the other. It’s a combination.
As 2013 came to a close, I made a decision: I was leaving my job. But this wasn’t just any job. This was my first out-of-college Big Girl Corporate Job — a place where I came into my own as a writer/editor.
However, my November/December was a whirlwind of being sick from stress. I was dealing with my ailing, and now deceased, mother, trying to keep up with work I no longer had any Give A Fuck energy for. My mother was dying in the hospital, and I knew it. I could see the death in her eyes — a very familiar look. Nothing else mattered and things began to fall into perfect perspective.
Looking at my mother, slumped to the left side of her hospital bed and clinging to life, I saw the past seven years of my life flash before me. For seven years, my dad, older brother, and I cared for my mother as her rheumatoid arthritis took over her body. A woman who I adored was once a strong, active woman and now a strong, hopeful-for-healing vegetable — needing assistance with everything: eating, bathing, and shitting. I, we, did it all.
But my family and I had to face reality. The caregiving was over.
Mama passed away on December 31, 2013, bringing my year to a morbid yet symbolic end. I was closing a giant chapter in my life in 2013 and starting fresh, anew in 2014. I was leaping into 2014 with no mom, no job, and no man (LOL, JK. I didn’t have that in 2013 either). For me, turning 25 now meant more to me than I ever thought it would. I now have to go forward in life with whatever wisdom my gracious mother instilled without being able to physically go to her for advice. I’m entering a place in my career where I’m more aware of what I want and what talents I have under my sleeve. And lastly, and perhaps most importantly, I now have a more profound understanding of what life is about.
What matters the most in life isn’t necessarily the things you do, but who you do it with. The relationships you build, the connections with people you make, and the lives you touch define the legacy you will leave behind.