THE BIG 25 and Other Thoughts

It was my friend’s 25th birthday yesterday.

A quarter century of life packed into that day. 25 years, twenty-five years… And seven years ago, when we were 18, it seemed to be such an adult age. The time at which you have your own family and a steady job. The time at which you are finished with your studies, don’t feel insecure about yourself and will be good to go in life until you the day you die. Also the time at which you develop your first wrinkles and start slacking off body-wise.

Or maybe it was only me who imagined the future to be like that? Turns out that 25 years is actually a pretty young age. It’s three good years past the Bachelor’s, right into a Master’s or PhD degree, which my friend is currently pursuing. I would also like to generalize that this is not the typical time anymore at which my generation marries and has children. At least in my circle of friends it has stayed like this. And my body is still pretty fit when I use the treadmill in the gym. I haven’t found consistent wrinkles in my face yet, either. But who am I, to talk about 25 years of age, for I am only 24. Things can change in less than a year, or so I have been told!

Throughout the past, friendships have stayed, and many more have been formed, but surprisingly some valuable good ones have resisted the storm of the youth. When asking me seven years ago if I would have thought to still be in touch with the same clique I am friends with now, I would have highly doubted this. But, most importantly, I consider this to be a good thing, when looking back at the time invested into these relationships. Now if it only felt that way, but it often does not. It seems like time from high school has only been a blink away and all of a sudden everyone has grown up but somehow not really.

So, in the upcoming month of November, three other of my good friends will be celebrating their birthdays. Another big 25. One happy 26. And even a lucky 28. The third 25 will come around in February, four months from now. I cannot stop myself from thinking that this is the second time in a row I am missing out on all of these special days. Last year I was already here and this year I am still here, a continent and an ocean away from the crowd.

It’s not that I regret being so far away. But on occasions like these I wish I could just hop on a plane and spend a weekend at home. When thinking about my own 25th birthday coming up next year, I am pondering on what to do. As you might recall from Birthday Bash, my last birthday did not go too well in terms of being surrounded by friends. Next year I want to actively change the necessary ingredients about this, shake them up, and throw them into the air to create a fine day.

Certain birthdays are mile stones in our individual history. Sweet 16, Independent 18 (for Europeans), Legal 21 (for Americans), Big 25, and Dirty 30, to begin with. It would be nice to share these with the right kind of people. But lately it seems as if the clique is more and more dispersing, with exchange semesters, jobs abroad, and other adventures going on. So I suppose the next time we really do come together will be a fine occasion to celebrate all these birthdays in unison. To value the time spent with each other. And to look forward to an age during which we might not be separated by space and can cheerfully celebrate in a group again.