Realizations I’ve Had To Accept After Turning 25

In terms of “big birthdays” — milestones that are collectively designated as meaningful in the form of a number — we don’t mention 25 enough. Twenty-five is a quarter of 100, a century. The year that totters between decades of time-honored youth and projected maturity, pushing you into a whole other demographic in the eyes of marketers and abruptly granting you permission to rent a car in any state.

25 is major.

As someone who was recently forced through the age’s doorway herself, I’ve had no choice but to accept certain indisputable laws of time and gravity that come along. And it is these moments with their past expiration dates that have shifted my perspective and reminded me I’m far from ageless:

My life-long dream of becoming the unexpected star of an urban high school drumline is never going to happen, no matter how vividly or often I imagine this scenario: I walk onto the basketball court, tenor drums along my hips, toward the table of audition judges. They exchange glances and smirks, even a nudge or two, as if to say Oh, this is gonna be good. The handsome percussion leader, Antoine, says, “What you got?” I cough in a moment of panic then begin. My eyes close and the air fills with the sounds of a young Nick Canon meets Sleigh Bells (only Treats). All three of their jaws drop and their shoulders involuntarily bop along. One of them whispers, “Girl’s got nasty skills.”

There is an unwritten decree that as a 25-year-old, I am no longer allowed to attend a dubstep show. It’s the first music genre I’ve ever encountered that has made me feel old and say things like, “How do you expect me to dance to this?” or “Why are my insides vibrating?” The sounds of crashing machinery, the seizure-inducing lights and the half-naked children putting mysteries on their tongues all make me dizzy. I don’t know much about these Basshoney and Shrillex boys, but I hope they are drinking plenty of fluids.

I am too old to make out with someone in college, even a fifth year. I don’t care how impressive his beard is or how frequently he reads Paul Krugman’s column — this really just shouldn’t happen. It’s not even a matter of age difference at this point; it’s about place in life. I started a 401K earlier this year, all right? You slept with a halo of spilled Flamin’ Hots around your head last night, and I… well, I may have too, but I’m going to wash my sheets first thing in the morning, believe that.

I can’t act like my parents aren’t two of the coolest people I know and that I don’t actually enjoy hanging out with them anymore. Seriously, they’re really dope. They pursue interesting creative endeavors, read important books, make interesting friends and, for the most part, have good taste. My mom is not just someone to comfort me when I get upset about a guy, and my dad is not only on my speed dial for when I’m filling out a W-4. I’d like to say that they’ve grown into the kinds of people that, as a young adult, are worth spending time with, but the truth is they haven’t become anything — it’s me who’s changed.

If I go to Forever 21, it must be done quickly and possibly wearing some kind of hat/sunglasses/mustache combination. You know what really makes you not feel 21 anymore? Entering a store whose name serves as a constant reminder you’re no longer the age of the spirit it suggests you exude. It also doesn’t help when you’re browsing floral jumpers next to a metal mouth loudly describing the over-the-shirt action she received from a sweaty kid named Brandon the night before.

Getting stupid messed up is not that cool anymore and it comes at a cost. Weekend nights that begin in decadence and debauchery now end with mornings of unmet promises to friends and bruises discovered in the shower. The empty calories and unforgiving gas of 3 a.m. Mexican food I don’t even remember eating taunt me, along with the fact that I have no idea what happened to those three 20s in my wallet earlier in the night. Dear god, how many tacos did I order?

Being healthy is more than about looking halfway decent in a two-piece. Maybe eating well, exercising and taking care of my skin will lead to a longer, better life or some shit like that. This is a new concept for me — making decisions based on the long term. Things like avoiding cigarettes because they’re actually poisonous, not because they make my hair smell bad. Or wearing sunscreen because a burn that will turn into a tan is not worth the damage in 20 years. Lately I find myself replaying what I’ve eaten that day not to watch my calorie intake, but to make sure I’ve had enough roughage to, you know, stay regular.

I must face the fact that they’re coming. The marriage proposals and the weddings and the babies are coming, and they’re not slowing down for anyone. Fortunately none of my close friends have walked down these paths yet, but there are enough people on my social periphery to furrow my brows. The way I see it, the next five years are meant for carving careers, figuring out what you truly want in a partner and having some adventures. So with bewilderment — and perhaps a tinge of anxiety that I’m in fact the weird one for not wanting any of this yet — I click through photo albums of engagement rings and little toothless smiles and watch as those around me “settle down.” TC mark

image – Shutterstock


More From Thought Catalog

  • Only L<3Ve @

    […] Thought Catalog » Life Add a comment […]

  • pete n pete (@theobserving)

    wait til youre 30.

  • Brostep Stalone

    Or how about you chill the fuck out and don’t care about all this bullshit you’ve wrote. How about that?

    • michaelwg

      You tell him random internet commentor guy!

      • katiebehappy


  • Anton

    So you were a boring person that decided to become a slightly more boring person? Nice! Totally relatable.

    • Danielle

      Wow! I don’t think that this article portrays that anyone is boring but, rather, that she actually has responsibilities unlike yourself, who obviously pops E on the regular to make yourself more satisfied with the existence you call life.

      • Jk

        Hahaha! And you established that from his/her comment how exactly Danielle?

      • Anton

        There is no satisfaction in existance. Only guilt, God and stylistic integrity.

  • amyabdel

    I think it’s a good article because I can relate to the feeling of growing older. It’s not a bad feeling, you don’t sound worried to me. I am only in my early 20s and I notice such a change in myself from just a year ago. I like the change.


    Why does there have to be a timeline? I feel the timeline exists less and less (and when people push it with the marriage/baby thing, right on the dot, it’s obnoxious). HOWEVER, one thing all Thoughtcatalog-type twentynothing post-millennials should keep in mind…you are an adult. BE one. Be not a tween in hot post-pubescent clothing. Be a grown-up. Once you are a grown-up you can just be that–“a grown-up”–from 25 to 125. You don’t have to worry about any more dots along the timeline. Just be that. Full-grown. And then IT’S ALL GOOD, THOUGHTCATALOG INSPIRATIONAL RELATABLE THOUGHT MONKEY!

  • Hannah L.

    the writers of thought catalogue are all turning into little ryans

    • Hry

      Scary image.

  • katiebehappy

    This makes me somewhat sad for you, Julia. While it’s great that it sounds like you have your life together, it also sounds like you’re missing out on a whole lot of livin’.

    I’m 25 and I feel like I’ve just started my life. I was in a 5 year long relationship that ended about a year ago and only now do I realize how much I missed out on while trying to be a “grown up”. Who gives a shit if you go get drunk at a dubstep show and then eat some late night greasy food? So long as that’s not your everyday, you’re really not doing any harm to yourself….

    If you’d rather stay at home and go through old receipts while maaayyybbeeee sipping a glass of red wine (because lets face it, it was a rough week at the office and you need to unwind a little!), that’s great. But don’t dump all over the people who choose to live differently.

    • Sasha

      I love this comment.

    • 26yearold

      She’s not dumping on anyone, you’re just taking it too personally. Enjoy those flamin hot cheetos and leatherskin! :)

      • katiebehappy

        Well, actually… I don’t eat Cheetos nor do I tan in any form (spf 50 is what’s up). But thanks for judging, interwebz stranger!

    • 26yearold

      you seriously take written word way too literally.

      • 26yearold

        you judged Julia yourself, fellow interwebz stranger…. ; )

  • S.Jones

    Lol at not dating someone in college…srsly, i know of so many 30+ dudes/creepers who find it totally acceptable to date/bang lil 18 yr olds still in hs

  • Guest

    Man, all you people are getting your panties in a twist for no apparent reason. Good for you, Julia! Good for you for realizing that with age comes maturity. At least you’re not parading around talking about your LOLOMG drunk exploits because LIKE, WHATEVER you’re still in your 20s. This post reads much more as a reminder to the author of the lessons she’s learned (the hard way) than a preachy “carpe diem, you’re an invincible 20something” laundry list like most of these TC posts have become. If you’re still 25 and eating greasy Mexican food at 3am after dubstep shows, awesome! Sounds like you know how to party like it’s junior year of college. If you’re doing that on a Tuesday, weekly, maybe there are other things you could spend your time doing. Finding a job instead of complaining on the internet. Doing your laundry. Volunteering. Writing something of substance of your own. There’s nothing wrong with being young and carefree – it’s great that you’re enjoying this stage of life, because after this, shit starts to get real. But for some of us, who’ve already lived out that phase, and are starting to settle into a comfortable phase of both youth AND maturity, posts like these are a refreshing change from the vapid, repetitive, narcissistic, pop culture-saturated stream of consciousness that continues to fill TC’s archives.

    • 26yearold

      pretty much said everything I was thinking.

  • thesugarray

    I’m a little bewildered because all my friends started getting engaged and settling down at twenty-one. At twenty-five they think I am the awkward one deemed to die alone.

    • 26yearold

      just wait till they start popping out babies. who doesn’t love looking at repetitive pictures of ugly babies on their fb feeds?

      don’t worry, there’s an inevitable first round of divorces just a couple years away.

      • thesugarray

        Ugh, that happened after six months. My friends have toddlers. Some where pregnant and still babysitting.

    • Mung Beans (@mung_beans)

      are you from the south… I’m 25 and I’ve been in like five hundred friend weddings already

  • 26yearold

    haha, I’m from California, and been in a shit ton of weddings too. sadly, it’s not a regional thing. :D

  • thewildbohr

    I love this. Julia perfectly articulated the 25 year old juggling act of grabbing your mid-twenties by the balls (in all arenas), but doing it with class. Don’t have that 8th vodka soda when you’re already pretty sauced, take care of your body and mind, and call your mom more often. She is really, truly cool.

  • Pat Shiplett

    “Ah, but I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.” 1964; “My Back Pages;” Dylan 1964. You can’t appreciate that line until you hit the big three-oh. Nice post, Julia.

  • not a keynesian

    I liked the (probably unintentional) dead-on assessment that people still reading Krugman are not mature yet (no matter how they may otherwise appear so).

    Personally, I won’t date a chick unless she has already come to realize that Keynesianism is a cult and its priests (Krugman, et. al) demagogues.

    If she wants to roll on the weekends and shove fried rolled tacos down her mouth at 3am then that is fine, as long as she is fluent in Austrian Economics and can talk on the finer points of Minsky.

  • Sab

    I loved this. Thank you.

  • Thought Catalog Roundup « Yow Yow!

    […] Realizations I’ve Had to Accept After Turning 25 […]

  • Mode

    You’re 25 and you’re too old to make out with someone who is 22-23?

  • Sara Suzanne

    “The way I see it, the next five years are meant for carving careers, figuring out what you truly want in a partner and having some adventures. ”

    true, but it will definitely be more than the next 5 years…. trusties

  • nolis

    As someone who just turned 25 3 months ago… good job. the pain is felt.

  • Growing Up Is Weird | Thought Catalog

    […] is a strange sense of gravitas that goes hand in hand with a 25th birthday, whether we’re willing to acknowledge it or not. Birthdays number 16, 18, and 21 are all swathed […]

  • Only L<3Ve @

    […] is a strange sense of gravitas that goes hand in hand with a 25th birthday, whether we’re willing to acknowledge it or not. Birthdays number 16, 18, and 21 are all swathed […]

blog comments powered by Disqus