I sit at the table in the common room, it’s a free period so I don’t have a class. The homework in my bag is the heaviest thing I’ve ever lifted and I wonder how many of the universities I applied to will even bother to skim read my application. I’m 18, one of the oldest kids in my year. I look down at my phone instead of looking into anything of actual importance; my textbooks would be covered in dust had they not been shuffling around in my bag as I shuffled through the halls.
I thought to myself: ‘it’ll all work itself out by the time I’m 25‘.
I can’t have been the only teenager to ever think that 25 was the age. The age where everything finally falls into place. It seems a little ridiculous now to think that an 18 year old who doesn’t know who she wants to be, would morph into a 25 year old who finally figured it out. In reality, if I was to achieve the goal that my 18 year old mind set for my 25 year old self, I’d have just under 6 months to get my shit together.
25 year olds have stable careers and they’ve been climbing the job ladder for at least 2 of those years. They get invited to Caroline’s baby shower and Gerald’s 10 year work anniversary at the company. They have a mug, slightly stained from coffee that sits on their desk with a picture of their dog as a puppy that a friend bought them as a ‘congratulations on getting promoted’ present 3 months ago. They’re on first name terms with their boss and sometimes they grab a drink -or two- after work together when they’ve hard a hard day and laugh about how ‘maybe I’ll have your job in a few years if I work hard enough‘. They close down their company computer, put on that nice designer trench coat -that they spent quite a bit of money on but justified it cause they needed it to make a good impression at work- and walk out of the door to start their journey back to the nice house they just put a mortgage on with their fiancé.
25 year olds have stable relationships and they’ve been in them since they were 19 years old. They’ve had countless ‘so when is he gonna put a ring on that finger of yours?‘ jibes from older family members when they show up with their other half at family parties. They show off the sizeable rock on their once light as a feather single finger to everyone in their circle and talk about how much of a shock it was when he popped the question. They visit castles and manors as they weigh up their options and finances when picking the wedding venue that ‘just feels like the one‘. They wonder how they’re gonna break it to their parents that the wedding might need to happen a little sooner than later because a mystery guest is trying to hitch a ride up the aisle. They think it’s a boy but it’s a little too early to tell.
18 year olds think that 7 years is a lot further in the future than it actually is. I used to think that 25 year olds were adults; 25 was the age. I’m 6 months from 25 and I don’t have any of the things I mentioned above and the truth is, I can’t think of anything I want less. 18 year old Lynn and 24 year old Lynn aren’t so different. I’m sure 25 year old Lynn won’t be drastically different either. It’s hard to predict a future you haven’t lived and times are changing so it may have been perfectly expectable when my parents were young to have your shit together by the time you were 25. I don’t think it’s wrong to want the velcro on your feet to stay detached from the velcro on the ground in your final destination for a little longer than you expected. I want to see the world. I want to meet new people. I want to be creative. I want to know every single thing there is to know about myself before I stop. I stop, sit down and know exactly where it is that I want to be. I’d hate to sit down in that office chair, wearing my fancy trench coat that I wish I hadn’t wasted my money on and look down at the heavy engagement ring topped with a wedding ring on my tired finger at 30 years old and wonder: what would’ve happened if I didn’t think 25 year olds had their shit together?
Maybe 30 year olds have their shit together. I guess I have 5 years and 6 months to figure it out.
Disclaimer: if you lead a life anything like the one I described, I just want you to know, I’m not slating you. In fact, you should be really proud of yourself because you probably do know who you are. I just don’t think your life is for me and that’s a me problem.