You’re not freaking out, you’re being a coward.
You’re not where you want to be in life? Then do something about it. Celebrate the fact that you have a chance to, that you have passions and dreams, and that you have an Internet connection and education.
You know who else isn’t where they want to be in life? Everyone.
I have days I am grateful. Days when my bike and my cat and my friends and my family and my man and my apartment are all I could ever need. But I have days when sunshine feels like an interrogation lamp and the pressure to be something better feels like it’s melting your skin off. The higher you climb, the smaller a foot feels. So you pick up the pace, you find new mountains, you find new challenges.
But your birthday isn’t a challenge. Turning 25 isn’t a challenge. Turning 25 is a gift and you’re looking it in the mouth. You know what accomplishments take? Time, effort, ambition, and ugly, sloppy failures. They’re not built on pity and what-could-have-been’s, they are built on the sheer will to become the person you want to be, they are built on overcoming adversity and setbacks. They are built on rejected submissions and failed concepts, on rough drafts and countless revisions, they are built on early mornings and late nights. They are not built on arbitrary birthdays.
Maybe I’m being mean. Maybe it’s because I wish someone had been meaner to me. Maybe it’s because a hug and a pat on the head won’t get you anywhere. Maybe because telling you to relax is just telling you to give up. Maybe because the only one who can get you somewhere is you. Maybe because the audacious idea that you should be somewhere by 25 speaks more to your ego than your abilities, and that if you’re going to make such claims, you need to go out and prove you were right to make them in the first place.
Maybe it’s because I’m not where I want to be either, and on a Friday when the skies are ripping apart, when you can smell spring on the horizon, when life looks like it might start over, we all need someone to tell us to get out of bed and do something with our lives.
Go ahead and write the invitation to your birthday party:
Thus far I have accomplished none of the things I have wanted in life. Please, come celebrate as we put to bed my shame and self-disappointment and instead, begin to hold me accountable, for in this great 25th year, I am going to ambitiously pursue the following:
And then list everything you ever expected of yourself. Because the first thing you need to learn on the road to accomplishing your dreams is that you can’t be afraid to make a fool of yourself in the process.