Tomorrow I turn 25. A quarter of a century. Halfway to 30. My mid-twenties. And I’m not very excited about it.
It’s not that I think 25 is particularly old. I’ve still got five more years in my glorious twenties! (So there’s no need to worry, right?) But something still tugs at my subconscious, making me slightly less enthusiastic about this particular milestone than others. And I think it’s that I imagined my life would be much different at 25 than it is in reality.
When I was 13, I loved to doodle everywhere. I especially loved illustrating my little journal entries, which usually consisted of my wishes and dreams for the future. That means I drew a lot of pictures of “Future Kaitlyn” because I wasn’t very happy with “Present Kaitlyn.” I was shy and awkward and generally miserable for no real reason other than having low self-esteem so I imagined a Future Kaitlyn that was confident and free-spirited and independent.
I imagined myself with long flowing locks riding a moped around foreign cities. I imagined myself in a studio loft in an artsy city district directing my own movies. I imagined myself with a close group of girlfriends who I could stay up late giggling with over our ridiculous escapades in dating. I imagined myself engaged or possibly married to a swoon-worthy and intelligent guy who just “got me” and supported my desire for an active career.
Well…I have the long flowing locks…
Ha! I’m not quite sure where the moped idea came from, but I can vividly remember a little sketch of myself standing in a power pose beside a purple moped with teal flames painted on the side, my helmet casually stowed under my arm and a confident smirk on my face. That 25-year-old Future Kaitlyn was ready to take on the world! Unfortunately, I’m not really anything like the Future Kaitlyn I imagined when I was an unhappy 13 years young, and I can list for you those reasons all day long.
Things I Haven’t Accomplished By 25 That I Wanted When I Was 13
- International Travel
- Living on my own
- Published a YA fantasy novel
- Living in or near an artsy city culture
- Wrote my own feature length screenplay with plans to put it into production
- Public engagement and/or marriage
- Sex and the City or Friends-style local gal pals to decompress with after work over a glass of wine
- The ability to talk to anyone anywhere anytime without freaking out
But the reason I wanted those things is because I felt like they would make me feel better about myself. What all those “goals” I set for myself really meant was that I wanted to have stronger self-esteem by the time I turned 25 (although I couldn’t articulate all the nasty, dark feelings that way at the time). But if I really look hard at the life I HAVE accomplished, I see how I’ve accomplished the PURPOSE behind many of those imagined goals.
Things I Have Accomplished By 25
- Much higher self-confidence and self-esteem
- A college degree from an acclaimed institution (Tribe Pride!)
- A large body of work on my YouTube Channel with nearly 10,000 subscribers
- Overcoming my fear of being in front of the camera
- Understanding and respect for my introverted nature so that I don’t beat myself up so much for not wanting to be the star in every room or conversation
- Friends across the state, country, and globe that care about me and are interested in my well-being and accomplishments
- Love and compassion for humanity which gives me a selfless desire to help in some grand way and pushes me towards the future
- A love for who I am—my flaws and failures as well as my strengths—with the intention to never stop working to better myself and chasing my dreams
And truthfully, how likely is it that my predictions at 13 would actually make sense when I was 25? (Awkward crop tops that all my drawings were wearing I’m looking at you.) Can I really be disappointed in myself for not accomplishing all my 13-year-old dreams when there has been so much LIFE between now and then that changes circumstances and possibilities? There are many things that I wish I had done in the last 12 years since those initial imaginings. Like studying abroad or at least doing some kind of international traveling. Or living in my own apartment rather than in my parents house in the same bedroom I grew up in which has started to feel quite a bit cramped (not only physically but mentally because I’ve just grown into too much of an individual person to be contained to the 16 year old girl my parents would still like to view me as. But there are also so many things I’ve done over the years that I never could have fathomed. Like in 2003, YouTube didn’t even exist so how could I have predicted or imagined for myself a career in making Internet video? Or winning a national contest with them and being sent to an acclaimed film institution all the way out in California?
I think 13 year old me would be proud of what I’ve done so far and confident that I can keep on being awesome and exploring the possibilities of my life. That’s one thing Present Kaitlyn always had: faith that Future Kaitlyn would keep finding amazing things to do. Present Kaitlyn might be completely wrong in her predictions of what these things could be, but she never doubts the eventual outcome of a happier life.