I recently turned 25. To be honest, I’m not a big birthday guy. In fact, I don’t really understand the people who make a big deal out of their own birthdays. Sure, when I was a kid, I was all about the parties and presents and sugar comas. But these days, it just seems weird to tell all your friends, “Hey guys, don’t forget, the arbitrary celebration of me as a human being is coming up, so I expect all of you to pay for my drinks and buy me things.” This year, though, I actually kind of gave a shit because I turned 25. It’s a milestone for many silly, completely made up reasons. Here are a few of them.
1. College Finally Feels Behind You
It’s weird that it’s taken this long, but it’s only been in the last couple months or so that college hasn’t felt like it was somehow part of my identity. The first few years that you’re out, you kind of keep tabs on what’s going on back on campus, and you still have friends who haven’t graduated yet. By now, everyone you knew in college has moved on–my fraternity is now totally populated by guys I’ve never met. On my end, I don’t treat my life like a college student as much anymore. The funny thing is that in many ways, postgrad life is more irresponsible than your college years. You don’t have grades, attendance, extracurricular club obligations, scholarships to maintain, or professors to impress. You basically go to work during the day, try to put in the effort level you need in order to get yourself to where you want to go, and then you go home and do whatever the hell you want. That’s what’s so great about PGP, too (shameless plug for my employer). There’s a whole site dedicated to letting everyone our age know, “Don’t worry, everyone else is just as ridiculous, frustrated, and irresponsible as you.”
2. You Can Date Down And Up
My elderly roommate imparted a little wisdom to me yesterday.* Twenty-five is actually the perfect age for dating in your twenties. If you’re cool with dealing with college girl problems, you can certainly still date a younger girl with no social repercussions. If a sophomore tells her friends the guy she’s seeing is a little older and reveals he’s 25, there likely won’t be any qualms brought up (at least to her face). Conversely (and more importantly, in my opinion) hitting your mid-twenties officially qualifies you for women in their late twenties and early thirties. I don’t know what it is about women in that age group, but they LOVE patronizing younger guys. I’ve seen some of the smoothest operators I’ve ever known approach a woman in that age group as 22- or 23-year-olds and get a verbal pat on the head or pinch of the cheek as a response. Twenty-five means you’re in the clear, for the most part. I imagine the reasoning is likely the same as it is with younger girls. You don’t want to constantly get shit from your girlfriends for robbing the cradle if the guy you’re seeing is 23 and you’re 31, but 25 just sounds right. I’m not saying my age magically makes me attractive to a swath of women 15 years apart in age, but it certainly makes me eligible.
3. Renting A Car
I pretty much never travel, and when I do, I’m usually going home or visiting friends. I’ve never needed to rent a car in my life, but it’s nice to know I can if I need to. I mean, maybe I’ve subconsciously been avoiding going on vacations to places where I don’t know anyone because I wouldn’t be able to drive myself around. Now, I’m free to go wherever I want. Fly to Montana and cruise the state in a Jeep? Done. Portland in a Prius? Sure. Any major metropolitan area in a reasonably priced sedan? You better fucking believe it. I look at it like my newfound ability to run for Congress. Am I going to do it sometime in the near future? Probably not. But if I all of a sudden came into a lot of money, I might consider doing both.
4. It Carries A Different Weight
Just like how being married confers you with an added amount of respect from people, hitting your mid-twenties does the same. Not only do I personally feel cut off from my college identity, but people in general view me the same way. It feels like I’ve walked past a threshold where before, I was simply a kid playing as an adult. Now, I’m now a full-fledged member of the grownup class. This means I’m free to be as completely childlike as I want, because that’s what grownups get to do. They make their own decisions.
5. It’s A “Celebratable” Number
There are a lot of things that celebrate 25 year anniversaries. Twenty-five is the number where we typically stop and look back on a thing or an event to evaluate it. You see a lot of oral histories come out on things that happened 25 years ago. When a seminal film reaches its 25 year mark, there is usually a special release and people write articles about how the film has left its mark on the cinema landscape. You qualify for induction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25 years after the release of your first album. The 25 year wedding anniversary is considered the first major one. Basically, the quarter century marks a perfect time to reflect.
So, let’s see. In the last 25 years, I saw “Toy Story” in theaters, witnessed the presidential election be decided by the Supreme Court, bought the “Space Jam” soundtrack the day it was released, went to see Disney’s “Hercules” on my first date (my dad sat in the back of the theater), wore puka shell necklaces when they were cool (and stopped once they weren’t), saw the Twin Towers fall on the same day I attended an assembly hosted by Columbine survivors, drank Pepsi Blue, spent an entire year talking to my friends using only “Napoleon Dynamite” and “Anchorman” quotes, started college right as the economy was crashing, saw the iPhone announced live, lost my virginity in the backseat of a Buick sedan, road tripped to New Orleans on a total whim, watched Landon Donovan score the miracle goal against Algeria with 20 of my best friends one summer, followed by celebrating bin Laden’s assassination the next, saw my team win the NBA Championship, graduated with a shockingly decent GPA, moved across the country, got a job, lost that job, got a new job, and made some cool progress in the career path I moved out here for. I’ve met some cool people and argued with some shitty ones. I’ve dated girls, hooked up with girls, fallen unrequitedly in love with girls, become friends with girls, and given up on girls about 80 times along the way. All in all, I’ve been lucky enough to do and see some interesting shit.
Twenty-five is pretty cool, you guys. I highly recommend it.