Today I turned twenty-five. That could also be written as 25. Two digits, two hyphenated words. It could also be said that I am a quarter-century old. One quarter of a full 100. That still makes me 25. 25 years old and I get a quarter.
When I turned 21 I celebrated. It was a great year. I could go into a bar and drink. I could go into a liquor store and buy some whiskey. Twenty-one is the year of alcohol: not because I love drinking but because of the drinking laws in the United States. Twenty-one is the legal age at which a person can purchase alcohol in the U.S. and the years of being told ‘no’ explode in a shower of liquor when you hit 21.
So 21 was great. The U.S. government gave me the gift of legality and in many ways I was considered an adult in the eyes of the law. Party on till the lights come on.
22 was also a great birthday. “I’ve been 21 a full year, wahoo! More drinking!” And that’s what I did. At least, that’s what I think I did for my 22nd birthday. I don’t really remember. I may have been drunk.
Are you noticing a theme here? I assure you, it’s quite accidental (and if not merely annual).
So let’s recap for a second. 21 and 22 were great birthdays. Twenty-one because ‘you’re twenty-one! You can drink! You can buy pretty much whatever you want! You’re a legal adult!…but you don’t have to act like an adult! Win all around!’ And then twenty-two is just as great because you get to remember and relive all the glory of 21. 21 you live it, 22 you remember it.
23 is when I started to worry. Three months leading up to my 23rd birthday a gloom settled on my thoughts and started whispering words of dismay and decay: dismay at the decay that would come on my 23rd day. For the three months leading up to my 23rd birthday I was morose. I walked around with a cloud over my head, gloomily counting down the days until I turned 23.
There’s nothing to look forward to when you’re 23. There’s no new governmental privileges bestowed, no new moments of glory: it’s just a bookmark in life’s book showing you how far you’ve come. I suppose what I found most worrisome was the fact that I didn’t know what the subtitle would be for my 23rd birthday. 21’s subtitle was ‘The year I get to legally drink’. 22’s subtle was ‘The year I’ve been legally drinking for a full year.’ What would 23’s be?
Come the two weeks before my 23rd birthday the cloud of doom lifted and I was able to finally embrace my birthday. It was then that I began my personal tradition of having all toasts be to me on my birthday. We were celebrating my birth, might as well make the toasts to me. I can’t tell you how much fun it is to raise your glass with your friends and shout, ‘To me!’
So my 23rd birthday was all about me. That shouldn’t be a surprise. Most people’s birthdays are all about them. I just took it to its natural extreme. Cheers to me friends!
When I turned 24 - just a year ago today - life was beginning to find its groove. Things were settling down: I had my first job out of college, had just entered a very healthy relationship, and most of my friends and family remained nearby. So with that in mind my 24th birthday turned into a celebration of life, family, and friends.
24 was a very happy birthday. It was celebrated with friends and family. The whole evening was relaxed and carefree. We sat around and ate, talking between bites, drinking between laughs. 24 was very good.
And now we’re caught up to today.
Today I turn 25. Happy Birthday to me! A very, very happy birthday to me!
Today marks the beginning of the rest of my life. Some might say that’s no more true than any other year but I’d argue different. Today at 25 I am now firmly in the camp of adult. While I am still very much a young adult, I can no longer revel in the afterglow of being a teenager like I had from 20-24.
Today at 25 I mark my first quarter century, signaling to myself and others the years of experience I have under my belt, and the many years I have left to fill in the rest.
Today I may be old in number but never in spirit. That I refuse to let age.
And it isn’t so much the number that scares me. 25 is merely a number used for grouping the years I’ve lived.
What scares me the most about growing older is the fact that as I grow older each year feels shorter. I have so much that I want to do. I want to live every moment to its fullest. The only problem is that as I age each moment grows smaller.
So I’ll do what I can: love the moments I have and cherish them until they pass.
Happy Birthday. :)