If you’re about to turn 25, consider this your warning to buckle up. My 25th year on this planet was one of the most tumultuous years of my adult life, and I’ve had multiple friends tell me it wasn’t exactly a cakewalk for them, either. At 25, you’re probably either on a direct career path or have no idea what you’re doing with your life and feeling very pressured to get your shit together. Your friends are starting to get married and have babies, and it’s easy to feel “behind” if you’re not in the same place as them. You’re not in your early 20s anymore, and that’s scary as hell.
So let me break down my year for you: At 25, I was working for a ~trendy~ startup in downtown Austin, Texas. It was one of those companies that claims to be super competitive with their hiring process, so you feel really lucky when they choose you to work for them. A month into it, you realize this startup is like an actual cult and if you’re not willing to get in line with all their views and policies, you will not succeed. The turnover rate was insanely high, but it was one of those toxic environments where as much as you complain about it, it takes a long time to convince yourself to actually quit.
But before I could quit, I was fired. Me, the straight-A, people-pleasing student who had virtually never done anything wrong in my life, was let go – from a job that I hated! To make a long story short, two employees had written scathing reviews about the company on Glassdoor, and our new VP of Content was looking for two scapegoats to be punished. Because I had spoken up about some issues in the past, he thought it was me. So I was fired in the middle of the day on a Thursday, escorted out by a manager, and utterly humiliated in front of all my coworkers – while the actual assholes who wrote the bad reviews kept their jobs.
Around the same time, I was being pursued by an old acquaintance from high school. He was cute and had great taste in music, so I agreed to go on a date with him. It went surprisingly well, and just a few weeks later he asked me to be his girlfriend. Plug in a movie montage of two-people-having-a-blast-and-falling-in-love here. I had never been in love before – never actually said the words “I love you” to someone I wasn’t related to before, so falling for him was a totally new experience. And if you’re a weirdo like me and haven’t been in love before, let me tell you – knowing that someone is not only attracted to you, but is actually in love with your personality, is the best feeling in the world. I couldn’t believe that all those stupid love songs were right all along.
But just a few months later, the same guy blindsided me by telling me he didn’t want to be in a relationship anymore.
“Wait – so you just don’t want to be in a relationship right now, or you don’t want to be in a relationship with ME?” I asked him.
“Both,” he said, as he stared at the floor.
You know in TV shows or movies, when someone says something so awful that everything goes quiet, and the character’s vision gets kind of blurry, and everything starts going in slow motion while you feel the impact of what just happened? It’s dramatic as hell, but I swear that’s how I felt in that moment.
So, yeah. My year of being 25 consisted of getting fired, being dumped, and basically feeling like my life suddenly had no direction whatsoever.
But as cliche as it is, all bad things come with a silver lining: I landed a new job that paid better, with an amazing, supportive boss who actually lets me have fun with my job. After being dumped, I took a break from dating for five months and used all my energy to focus on myself. I started going to the gym and not only lost a few pounds but gained physical strength and confidence. I learned to play an instrument. I read more. I spent more quality time with friends.
So yeah, most of 25 sucked. It sucked a hard Donald Trump dick. At times, I’ve felt more sad and inadequate and helpless and broken than I thought possible. But I’ve also felt incredibly humbled, grateful, strong, and hopeful for the future. I think 25 was just paving the way for the rest of my twenties, and I’m looking forward to what lies ahead..
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