For my 25th birthday my parents took me out to dinner. During the conversation My mom said that she asked her mother (my grandmother) what the best year of her life was. Her mom replied the year she was 25 years old. I don't remember the reasons she gave for it being the best year of her life but it was an age that brought back found memories.
My mom then went on to tell me that 25 was her favorite year as well. She said it was before my parents had kids and they were still a young couple starting out. They vacationed together in Hawaii for the first time and stayed at a swanky resort. Hearing this caused me to wonder what the next year had in store for me. I dreamed up exciting possibilities and new experiences. I imagined adventures with new people to new places. I looked forward to the possibilities in the year to come.
I've always had a difficult time with birthdays. With the exception of a few milestone birthdays, namely 16 and 21, I have never looked forward to turning another year older. My earliest memory of this was when I was 8 years old and planning my 9th birthday. I'm sure I was excited for the party and the cake and gifts but I really dreaded turning nine years old. I felt like nine was a little too mature. At eight years old I felt like a kid and I loved the "cuteness" of being a kid. Turning 9 years old was like the exit of being a "kid" and the entrance to young adolescence and I didn't like that.
Each year had it's own set of problems, mainly new responsibilities and consequences that I never had any desire to accept or acknowledge. I've always craved freedom. When I look back on the mistakes I've made, most of them stem from this strong desire I have to be void of consequences and responsibilities. It's the nature of some individuals to be driven to achieve, others have tendencies to be sensible and balanced. Other people are content with their lives. I have always craved freedom.
The feeling of freedom is a little bit different than being a "free spirit." I remember moments of this feeling and I can only describe it the way addicts describe using heroin for the first time. Freedom has always been the drug I've craved. I remember as a young soccer player dribbling past defenders on an open field, delivering the ball to the back of the net and feeling free. I distinctly remember the first movie I went to unaccompanied by an adult. I went with my friend Claire Comfort and we saw The Net. That taste of freedom was so exciting. I also found it in roller coasters, heights, fast cars, college schedules when class was "optional."
I remember my first solo road trip. I was 20 and drove a rental car from my house in Seattle down to Santa Cruz CA. It was the most exhilarating time. No one really knew where I was and I didn't have a set destination. I just drove and when I was tired I stopped at inexpensive motels and I slept. I stopped at the beach on the Oregon coast line and remembered feeling free and at peace.
Had it not been for the structure and expectations of friends, family, and society in general I think I easily could have forgone education and made bigger mistakes and now in adulthood I would be facing consequences I tried to hide from during my youth.
Where all of this was going is... I think my 25th year has been my greatest year to date. Instead of bringing the adventure I had hoped for I've made peace with the maturity I've been dodging. It has finally caught up with me and I've found that I actually like it. I'm confident I can take care of myself. I've found happiness and contentment in my relationships. I'm embracing adulthood and I'm excited for the next chapters in life.