At around 5:30am this morning, I officially turned twenty-five years old. I have never really been that big of a birthday guy. Sure, the numerous Facebook posts are kind of nice and I am not going to lie, I love the cash that my mom sends me each year but other than that I just don’t get too excited for my birthday. More than anything, I get embarrassed. I feel uneasy when co-workers and friends feel obligated to wish me a happy birthday and then follow it up with the usual questions of how old I am and what my plans for the night are. The only way I will go out to dinner on my birthday is if everyone in my party swears to me that they will not alert any of the wait staff about the occasion. I can’t think of anything I dislike more than wearing some stupid hat while restaurant staff members put on a fake face and act like they are happy to sing and dance some birthday routine that makes them look just as ridiculous as me. This year more than ever is one of those birthdays where I would like to fly under the radar. To say I am a little self-conscious about my new age is an understatement.
It is hard for me to come to grips with the fact that I am now twenty-five. There are no euphemisms for twenty-five, instead you can replace it with unflattering substitutes such as “halfway to 50,” “quarter of a century old,” or “on the fast track to thirty.” I am now legitimately in my mid-twenties. Yikes.
One of the tough things to face is that I have graduated from the 18-24 age demographic. Truly, this has to be the sign that you are no longer young and hip. Social scientists, politicians, and magazines no longer look to me as an indicator of what is fresh and cool in society. Along with getting kicked out of the age group I would like to forever be in, I also feel like I am being forced to move on from routines that have been commonplace for me before I entered this new age bracket: Am I too old now to go out to the bars and party until closing? Should I stop listening to mainstream top 40 and turn my dial to some 2000’s soft hits format? Should “Jersey Shore” be off limits to me? Am I going to have to stop wearing polos and jeans? Should I keep my hair shorter?
To be completely honest, I have mentally been preparing myself for the psychological change of turning twenty-five. For at least the past four months I have been telling myself that I was twenty-five, just to lessen the shock of when it actually became official this morning. When people asked me my age, I actually told many of them accidently that I was twenty-five. So, it is kind of weird, but it seems like I have not been twenty-four for a long time. Also, another way I have been coping with my age change is to tell myself, “You know Brent, being twenty-five is so much better than being twenty-six.” This has helped me some! Twenty-five does sound way better than twenty-six. If you are ever having a tough time dealing with your new age, I recommend you try this trick.
Of course, because of the type of person I am, I had to evaluate myself on where I am at the age of twenty-five. On the positive side, I have a great job and I can afford the type of lifestyle I want to live. I have great friends, great co-workers, and great contacts. I have no debt, no skeletons in my closet, no criminal record. I have really nothing holding me back. On the side where I need to work on, it would have been nice to have a graduate degree by this time in my life. I am going to be busy my whole life so I can’t keep using that as an excuse. I also need to work on owning a place of my own. Right now I live with three great people in a very nice house in one of Missoula’s nicest areas but it is not mine. I don’t plan to live in Missoula forever so I am hesitant to pull the trigger but even if I was, it is not like I would be set up right away financially to do so. To say that I have made the most perfect choices with my money since I got my first real job would be a complete lie. I should probably start working on that. I am also single!! While I love the single life, one of my goals is definitely to get married and have kids so I am going to need to start focusing a little harder on finding that special someone. Again though, the same dilemma of not knowing how long you are going to be in a certain place and the dedication I have to my career muddies the water a little bit when it comes to settling down with someone. Overall, I feel I am in decent shape at the twenty-five year mark.
So how am I going to spend my birthday today? Well, I am just about to walk out the door and head to Pocatello, Idaho, as our football team will be taking on Idaho State this afternoon at 4pm. I am driving the Griz Cheer Squad down as they get to travel to this game. We will get to Pocatello, eat lunch, go to the arena (yes, Idaho State plays football in an arena), and then spend the night at the Red Lion. It is going to be a great time and is actually probably the thing I would most want to do on my birthday.
Thank you so much to my mom for giving birth to me 25 years ago today! I was a nine pound baby and she popped me out with no pain medication. I might not like my new age but I need to realize that there is nothing I can do to stop time. I need to reflect on the countless blessings I have received in my twenty-five years on this earth and focus on how I can maximize those blessings over the next twenty-five years. I have a great life, and today I am going to celebrate it. Don’t Blink.