Probably since the age of 6, I was under the impression one had to follow an exact timeline in life, no matter what. My timeline? Bachelor’s degree by 21. Master’s by 24. VP by 25. Living alone in my own apartment, done with student loans, and already with the person I will spend the rest of my life with by 27. First child by 28. Second by 30. Happily ever after. Now, with my 25th birthday just a month away (I’ll start accepting presents now), I can say I have only stuck to one part of my timeline: a bachelor’s degree by the age of 21.
Just two weeks ago, I was bawling to my parents about not wanting to turn 25 just yet. Think about it. We can all remember clear moments from when we were younger. I remember being the age of 6 and thinking there would be a cure for diabetes. Then, being 10 and willingly giving up my summers for Prep. I remember being 13, obsessed with the Jonas Brothers, and waiting for Nick Jonas to come around. I remember being 15 and deciding I did not want a quince or Sweet 16 because that money could go towards a wedding in the near future. There’s me at 17, thinking I would find my husband in college (thank god I didn’t, looking back at it). I remember being 19 and wanting to be the next Beyonce with a Jay-Z by my side (but I clearly would have the looks). I remember being 21 and lost about the career I wanted to pursue. I remember being 22 and thinking I found the person I wanted to be with forever (again, baby Jesus knew better).
I can look back at all of these ages, and with it feeling as though I was 6 years old just yesterday, I have started to ask myself, “Yvonne, what do you want to do that you have not done yet?” What career potential can I achieve? What is my newfound definition of success? What do I want in terms of a family? Do I want to eventually go back to school? Who is Yvonne? I have had to come to terms with the fact that the timeline I made at 6 just does not fit with my life anymore, and it should not come with a feeling of disappointment. Not everything can fit into a perfectly shaped Tiffany’s blue box (although that would be nice).
Maybe the pressure comes from seeing examples of marriage and children by a certain age in my family. Maybe the pressure comes from being told how successful I am going to be and not reaching my full potential yet. Maybe the pressure comes from me and me alone, telling myself that I need to do certain things by a certain time. However, I also have to remember: I want to travel and move and date and experience and live, and unfortunately, it probably would be a bit harder if I was already married or with children (not everyone can have a Stormi at the age of 20, and be completely financially fine). It is OK to not want certain things just yet. Everything will come around and happen when it is time.
For now, reaching 25 means recognizing the feelings of uneasiness with life. 25 is not the end all, be all, and once I reach 50, I will probably look back and remind myself that this feeling of a quarter life crisis was just a brief moment, just a speck among all of my eventual accomplishments. Change is possible, nothing is permanent, and new life goals are going to develop that are more in line with my life and interests now than the life I thought about when I was a child.
Moral of the story: “Whoever told you life would be comfortable, lied to you” – Dear White People, Volume 3, Episode 10. Be comfortable with the uncomfortable, and do not get bogged down by a timeline. This time is yours to figure out what you want to do without feeling like you have to have everything together. Rediscover yourself. Be wise, but be selfish.