I turn 24 in December. I know this shouldn’t frighten me as much as it does. I know this shouldn’t make me immediately go into panic mode. But, it does. And frankly, I started panicking the second I turned 21.
I know 24 isn’t an ‘old’ age. I know turning 24 isn’t a huge milestone like turning 25 or 30 is. But, it’s such an odd feeling knowing another year has passed.
It’s scary and exciting. But, mostly scary. Even though, it shouldn’t be!
For so long in my mind, turning 24 basically meant that I’ve got to get my shit together. At 21, I could be as wild as I wanted. At 22, I could drink legally and not die the next day. At 23, I was done with college and could blame being an English major for all of my problems.
But turning 24 used to seem like the kind of age where I needed to really reach for my goals. 24 seemed like the kind of age where I should be getting a place to myself. 24 seemed like the kind of age where I should maybe start caring about what I put into my body. And 24 seemed like the kind of age where I should start trying to exercise.
The age of 24 seemed to me, like the age where adulthood is in full swing.
And you know what? I’ve realized that sometimes, I don’t want to act like an adult. No matter what I age I am. I want to do things without a care about what people think about me. I want to go on crazy adventures still. I want to travel the world. I want to run free. Like I did when I was 6. Your age is just a number.
It doesn’t mean anything else.
I still have so much time to do all that I want. I still have so much time to reach my dreams and find my life partner. There is no handbook that tells you what things you should have crossed off your list by now. And you shouldn’t cave in society pressures that you have to ‘get your life together’.
I have come to understand that panicking about growing older is pointless. The sun is going to keep rising and setting. The world is going to keep spinning. Society says that we need to have all of these crazy goals checked off. Society says that we need to act like adults already. That we need to fit a certain mold to make our parents proud. Everyone around is telling us to grow up. Everyone around us is telling to be serious.
But, I already tried to do what society wanted me to do. I worked in an office with fluorescent lights and people that never payed me any mind. I worked until, I broke. I worked until my mental state was so fucked up, that I was risking my sanity for this 9-5 job. And I hated that job. Because it wasn’t what I loved to do. And the only reason I did it, was because I felt like it was what I was supposed to be doing.
So, when I turn 24, I’m going to try to remain calm. It’s just a number after all. I’m not going to do things just because I feel pressured to. I’m not going to go after things that I do not want. I’m not going to do what other people think I should be doing.
And I’m going to try not to feel like I’m falling behind.
Everyone is on their own path. Everyone is going to have their own journey to get where they want to go. Everyone is going to go through life in their own pace. So, don’t let a number define you. Don’t ever let a number make you feel inadequate. Do what you want, in your own time. You’ll get there eventually.