I've been going through a quarter life crisis for the last seven years. I may be physically aging well (for now), but mentally I'm freaking out. It started on my eighteenth birthday and has continued every year since. Simply put: I dread getting older. I'm vain. I admit it. Thoughts of my skin wrinkling, my boobs sagging, and my hair graying creep the shit out of me. I love being young and "dumb," doing all kinds of unhealthy things I'm old enough to know I shouldn't, but being young enough not to care. When I was in my teens I was comforted by the affirmation that I'd be "young" and "cool" for at least another 15-20 years. But with my 25th born-day quickly approaching, I'm feeling more anxious than ever.
I annoyingly keep track of my age by fourths. I'm always measuring my life accomplishments against my seniority. There haven't been many and that's where the problem lies. When I was younger I had an idea of where I wanted to be in life by this time, and I'm not there. I always think of what I'd do differently if I had just a few years back. My favorite thing to say is "I wouldn't have gone to college." I love the idea of restlessly pursuing a music career straight out of high school--but that's not my reality.
It doesn't help that celebrities in my age group have already purchased houses, traveled the world, and earned millions of dollars. When I think of all the time I let slip by I get sick to my stomach. Comparing myself to others can really get me down if I'm not careful, so I'm learning to trust the course of my life. The truth is, it's never too late to chase our dreams.
I know aging isn't all bad. I totally support the "40 is the new 30!" campaign. I know that with age comes wisdom. I know the best is yet to come, experience is the greatest teacher, and any other cliche I can't currently remember. There are also really hot older women who are doing the damn thing (shout out to Jada Pinkett, Gwen Stefani, Demi Moore, etc.), reassuring me I don't have to shrivel up and lose my sex appeal any time soon.
Although trite, it's true: "you're only as old as you feel." The biggest thing that blows my mind about getting older is that I still feel like I'm 19 in a lot of ways. I want to hold on to that feeling. I think part of aging gracefully is learning to accept the here and now. So I'm going to savor my last months being able to say I'm 24. And when my birthday rolls around on December 24th, I will count my blessings instead of my years.