This Is What 25 Feels Like

 Aki Tolentino
Aki Tolentino

I was born and described by my mamma as a cautious, small, shy, meek little girl. I didn’t talk much, and hid behind my parents whenever I had the chance. Somewhere along the way I became a self-proclaimed thrill seeker, a little too bold and a challenger of boundaries and life. Authority? No thanks.

My mom tells me and others quite often that she believes that she had two daughters. Neither one of us know exactly when this happened. She thinks that little girl left a long time ago, but I know better.

That little girl doesn’t live with me anymore, that relationship was codependent and I felt smothered. Her constant fear become unwelcome in my home. She’s gone now, but she still drops by without warning. She is a part of my story, my soul, my past, and I will never abandon her.

So here I am, 25. I’m bossy, impatient and I change my mind a lot. I’m not always very reliable and I feel pretty bad about that. I have been to 17 countries, often times alone. I speak 3 languages. I don’t know how to balance a checkbook.

I lose things constantly and I have a hard time staying organized and focused. I have a really bad habit of loving men who don’t love me back for far longer than I should. I’m anxious a lot but you’d probably never know. I pretend I’m angry when my feelings get hurt. I’m working on that.

So here I am, 25. I have been trying to get a bachelor’s degree on and off for a little over 6 years now and sometimes that makes me feel proud, and determined. Sometimes that little girl comes over for a visit to tell me how embarrassing that is. Sometimes, I think she’s right.

“What do you want to do?” They ask me. I want to write but I don’t know what to write about.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” They ask me. I don’t know. Happy? fulfilled? Loved? Making a difference? Is that a job?

So here I am, 25. Does that make me a grown up now?

Let me tell you a secret….

I have no fucking idea what I want to be. But I am learning who I want to be.

And I am learning that person is different everyday.

Some days I’m the tough world traveler who has half of her head shaved and I’m ready to take on the world. Ready to kick some ass. Ready to get out there and make a positive change. Ready to tell you all about animal cruelty and why I don’t eat meat and why I refuse to put that chemical sunscreen bullshit on my skin. I am prepared and capable and proud.

Then there are the other days. Damn it, she’s here again. The days when that little girl comes over for an unexpected visit. The days that I really want to be vegan but eat a whole cheese and olive pizza instead. The days that I’m meek and scared and small. The days I just can’t seem to face the world so I flake out on my responsibilities to stay at home, hiding in bed behind my covers instead of my mom’s legs. The days that I’m embarrassed that I need to take a sick day because I can’t get it together. The days that I am sad and discouraged and tired and defeated for virtually no reason at all. The days that I think to myself, “Am I the only person that feels this way?”

So here I am, 25. I am brave and kind and conscious and trying my best to be better, every single day.

I like that part of myself.

So here I am, 25. I am moody and messy and inconsistent and sometimes I talk too much.

And guess what?
I am learning to like that part of myself, too.

and I beg you to do the same.

Some days be bold, some days embrace your fear. Stop Avoiding that little girl. Invite her over for dinner with open arms. Be careful. Don’t let her overstay her welcome. Show her how you are working on setting healthy boundaries. Show her that you are learning how to be lonely. Show her that you are learning how to be brave.

So here you are, 25. You’re growing and learning and changing. You fighting for your happiness. You’re paving your own way. You’re learning, and I commend you.

Fight and stretch and grow on the days that you feel strong.
Fight and stretch and grow on the days that you feel weak.

So here you are, 25.
Let go a little bit. I promise,
you got this. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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