It’s already here.
The idea smacks me in the face at times.
This, right now, is the future I used to dream of.
This is the impalpable life I envisioned so distantly when I was 12, when I was 21. I’ve reached here somehow, pushed by Time, rushed into the next minute, the next semester, the next year and now to my mid 20s.
Expectations of grand careers, loves, travels and kids notwithstanding — the most unsettling thing about being 25… is that it does not at all feel like it ought to.
25 is uncertain, in that strange way an object loses its shape and dimensions as it descends into water and lays there, unmoved. The sight of it is troubled, changing with each ripple and sunbeam that flits across the water. 25 is so far away somehow, I always have to convince myself that it is true whenever I say it.
I am 25.
I am 25.
It’s logical. I was born 25 solar revolutions ago, therefore I am 25. It says so on my ID, my passport; it’s the box I tick now when I fill surveys, the number people use to form their understanding of me. 25.
Twenty and five years.
The first 10, a child. The second 10, a succession of transitions. Then 5 years fumbling, 2 of them in a pandemic.
That’s a lot of maths but I can cope with the number, irrational as it feels to me. 25.
I’ve said it so many times, I’ve been 25 for 6 months now…but it always feels like a borrowed word, no matter how confidently or proudly or gratefully I say it.
It’s on loan to me now and soon I’ll have to swap it out for another murkier-looking number.
Actually, I’m already 25 and a half.
Oh, what a pickle we’re all in! A masquerade, a performative dance with deadlines.
What power do numbers have that outweigh who we are inside?
Why are we bound Why do we bind ourselves to these bits of data and rearrange who we are to match a number, to dance to the tune of expectations and fall into square categories?
I am 25, yes, but also a million other interesting things. My age is not the most striking part of me, not the path that leads to what is true and essential in a person. It is a loanword, a name tag that Time will soon replace.
Note: So it is that time of year now where I go “Oh, it’s been a while!” 😂