Catch-25 | What you need to know before you turn 25

“Breakthroughs happen to people who are scared to stop trying.” — Derek Shepherd, “Grey’s Anatomy.”

I remember when I was 23, I picked up a book at Porter Square Books in Providence. It was called Such A Fun Age by Kiely Reid. Then in a blink of an eye, I turned 25. How’d that happen? I spent my 24th year immersed in grad school and working in retail, and got my first “big girl job” as a content editor. At this age (25), I found an emotionally-connected love, a coaching business, and graduated with my masters in publishing and writing. Here’s the Catch-25 though, it’s the breakthrough that comes when you’re on the cusp of a brand new year. There’s a series of lessons that you will indubitably learn by the time you hit the next age. I’m turning 26 in exactly one week (May 28) and in this moment, watching Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, I’ve never felt more grateful.

But you’re probably still wondering, what is this breakthrough? Well, my loves, the breakthrough comes in the form of a “Sex and the City” quote: “you can’t stop being who you are because you’re afraid.” I know I’ve said that in past posts, but this is especially true, since this morning was the first I’ve done yoga in two weeks… yikes! But I felt just confident enough in my new(er) yogi-abilities that I went HARD in just a simple morning yoga routine on the Yoga app. THAT is when you know you’re getting something out of it, instead of thinking, “when will this end?”

That’s another thing, you don’t just give up. Picture this: someone is carrying mass amount of weight on their back, literally. They learn, overtime, to lighten the load. One step at a time. And you will get there. You will lose your balance from time to time, but you learn to get back on track.

The funny thing is, I wish I knew this when I was 19. I had given up on a dream of becoming an oncologist. Before that, I wanted to be a lawyer with a cool chemistry background. It’s kind of a “coulda-shoulda-woulda” situation. The worst of that trio is “shoulda.” But the fact of the matter is, and this is another “catch-25,” to be who you desire to be, you have to live like her/him/them. And the trick is to not “should” yourself, but to say “I am.”

I realize this is different from previous “To the girl who is turning [insert age here]” posts. But there really aren’t any “tips” for 25. You don’t need Sponge Bob Squarepants and Patrick Star to giggle profusely at you. But hey, when life gets tough, you gotta see the positives and laugh some sh*t off!

Related Articles: For The Girl About To Turn 21 | Moving Onto 22, For the Girl About to Turn 22 | Welcome to My Jordan Year (23), Does anybody like you when you’re 23? You have to love yourself, first, What’s funnier than 24? Getting older? 25?| For the girl/boy/whomever about to turn 24.

Is “normal” the new “weird?” | Subtracting bad habits

In less than ten days, here in North America that is, it’ll be the first official day of Spring. I think that when adults think of Spring, they think of cynicism and “oh, watch there be snow in May.” I, on the other hand, was taught to believe that Spring brings new beginnings. Having gone to a Catholic high school, I learned that Spring was the initiator of the Paschal Mystery. What I find “mysterious” about that concept of religion, is that it theology and science go hand-in-hand. Another thing I was taught, is that Chemistry is the foundation of all sciences. Chemistry is more than just mixing strange liquids into a flasks and test tubes. It is the elegance of all that the world is and what we are. Falling in love is a chemistry. You hear terms like “brain chemistry” all the time. And brain chemistry is not a myth. Yes, I started out as a chemistry major and my fourth grade teacher was right; I hate math and I always will, even though it’s inevitable and I practically aced honors Precalculus junior year.

Moreover, I touched upon this in The Correlation of Hummingbirds, Dancing, and Algebra, but this blog post is going to be slightly different. This post discusses Spring cleaning, except, we clean our behavior of the weeds that are bad habits.

It takes a really, really short amount of time to develop a habit. I couldn’t tell you exactly how much time it takes. But I know that even if we commit to doing something 5% less frequently, it could change us for the better. For example, I receive a journal prompt via text message every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday morning. If I go one of those days without journaling at 7 a.m., chances are, I won’t do it at all for a while. Yes, that did happen and I sat my butt down on my bed and wrote in my journal today’s prompt. It just occurred to me that I should also stop swearing so much. A lot of people have a tendency to say “sh*t” under their breath. Personally, I have a tendency to say “ow,” even when I’m not in pain. All it does is just manifest a bad mood and, of course, unnecessary pain. So, I wrote in my journal the following: “I can stop saying ‘ow,’ ‘f**k,’ and/or ‘sh*t’ 5% less for each word, to help myself feel like there’s less of a weight on my wellbeing.” Personal growth is not always about “doing more.” In fact, personal growth is subtracting these bad habits, toxic people, foods, etc.

I mean, really, I’m not always in pain. And even though I also have a proclivity to stress myself out, I can’t do that anymore, for health’s sake. Plus, I’m not always stressed!

However, I can’t help but wonder if stress has become the new “normal” and if “normal” has become the new “weird.” I was talking to a coworker at lunch in the cafeteria last week, and it’s amazing how much she and I have in common! However, the one thing that she and I had in common completely was abnormal for society, and that was growing up in the midst of constant chaos. She even said at one point, “I get suspicious if things seem normal.”

What stops us, in general, from feeling normal? Did the definitions of “normal” and “weird” swap? Impossible. What’s weird is hissing and swearing at absolutely nothing, even when said “nothing” is wrong. What’s weird is having pain where your appendix should be, even if you already had it surgically removed. What’s weird is thinking you don’t deserve what you’ve earned. Have you ever been so happy you were terrified?

Let us “normalize” things that are supposed to be normal! Let’s normalize human tones of voice, instead of lashing out. Let’s normalize being happy. Let’s normalize intelligence over ignorance. Let’s normalize shaking hands when meeting people who aren’t our bosses. Not only are these all completely normal, but it’s good practice for developing good habits. 😊