The year I turned 25 started out like one big, extended party - great friends, great travels, great memories. I suppose it was a great way to close my early 20's:
Almost a quarter has passed into the year I turn a quarter of a century old, and it's been going well so far, actually. Life is pretty good. Not much has changed, except there's a feeling amongst me and my friends (a lot of whom are also turning the big 2-5 this year) of always wanting to do more, of not being so reserved, of not easily saying "no". The weekends seem more precious, so much more precious we're willing to give up sleep to spend more time in them awake. Maybe in the back of our heads, we know we'll need to grow up pretty soon.
The future doesn't look so bad though, and I think I've seen it, in the lives of my older friends. Posh, kid-friendly condos; playing host and hostess to friends and having them over for dinner; long talks about children and businesses and real estate over pasta and wine, instead of pizza and beer; saying goodbye at a little past 11, driving fully sober and not in the least bit tipsy, and home before midnight. I think I could get used to that kind of life, too.
It will have to wait another year, though. Another year at least.
The "growing up" part unexpectedly happened sooner than I expected, however. Halfway through the year, on our way back from an amazing backpacking trip with friends, it happened. It might've been a quarter life crisis, or a stirring in my soul, as John Mayer put it. I asked some tough questions, and needed to give tough answers.
I really love to travel, no question about that. I don't find it at all difficult to pack my bags, book a flight, and just go. I enjoy spending days when my life is contained in a few bags in a strange new place that's so different from what I'm used to, but somehow manages to remind me of home too. It's a strange kind of freedom that I embrace wholeheartedly every chance I get - it scares me sometimes, how I'm so attracted to this kind of freedom, how I don't fear it at all. Because then, what of the days when I go back to my real life? What does this say about how I feel about most of my days and weeks and months, all spent trying to build a "life" - being able to buy a nice comfortable home, sticking to a daily routine that works so I can keep my schedule organized and all my tasks done, building a steady career to keep me financially stable? And which is my real life to begin with? Or are both versions of my life real? In which case, will I need to pick one? Or can I keep doing this, moving back and forth, because I think it's pretty clear to me now that traveling for me isn't just what it is for most people - it's not just about being able to get away for a couple of days to have a good time. Even if I don't know how or why it is the case, I think it's pretty obvious that the art of travel has so much more meaning to me. It's both a gift and a curse I guess, and most days I think it's the former, but today...today is strange.
Maybe I was a wandering free spirit in a past life, who lived La Vie Boheme in a time and a place in the world when that didn't mean running the risk of death by starvation. Maybe, as John Mayer aptly puts it, "It might be a quarter life crisis, or just a stirring in my soul". Maybe I shouldn't have listened to Fiona Apple's "Tidal" today (I didn't have the benefit of emo culture growing up, so I survived my teen years listening to Fiona Apple's poetry in "Tidal", among other things).
I'm flying home tonight, and maybe I should have just stuck to my cheesy, forever-happy KPop playlist.
As 2010 approached its home stretch, I realized that I needed to call the shots on my life. This was it. I couldn't live like a college student with a big allowance anymore, coasting through life, seeing where it would take me. Coincidentally, I moved into my new place. It was one of the most memorable moments of my year. I finally had a place I could make a home! It was a big responsibility, and one I was more than willing to take.
Then I made an even bigger decision. I quit my job, and started another one.
Enter 2011. A new year, a new phase in my life. I have nine months left of the year I turn 25, and I plan to make it a good one. So here's to a great, life-changing 2011, to grabbing life by the balls and to living it the way you want. And yes, I can't believe I'm actually saying this - cheers to growing up, finally.