When you’re in high school, you have a pretty vivid idea of who you’re going to be when you’re older. You also think 25 is “older.” You go off to college, ready to tackle the world with your 5 and 10 year plans. When you meet people in their 20’s and 30’s who don’t seem to have it all together, you’re quick to side-eye them, thinking, “That won’t be me!”
Yeah, I’ve been there. And now that I’m 25, I realize how very stupid and naive I was. There’s a million things I thought I’d have by this age, but here are some of the major ones.
1. My own house
I graduated from college four years ago and since then, I’ve lived in four different places—three being apartments I rented and one being my parent’s home. I’m not even remotely close to being sort of close to owning a house.
2. A six-figure job
There is not a single person I know who didn’t think they would graduate college and automatically get a six-figure job. I only have one friend who actually has one, and he’s 30 and we are all super envious of him. (THANKS FOR SHOWING OFF, BUDDY.)
3. A law degree
I always thought I’d go to law school. I don’t even think I ever really envisioned myself as a lawyer, but I just thought law school was a thing I’d do. And then I took the LSATs and decided that maybe $200,000 worth of debt wasn’t worth it for something I wasn’t positive I wanted in the first place.
4. A child
I practically swoon when I see people post pictures of their adorable children on social media. I even secretly screenshot some of them if I think my children might look like theirs (and wow, do I sound creepy). I’m probably not too ready to be a mom; I used to nanny, and my personal style is “let them eat a lot of snacks and watch TV.”
5. A spouse
I mean, I thought I would have a fiance by now, but I’d be happy with just a boyfriend. Or even a crush. Can I at least get some flirting with my local Starbucks barista?!
6. A balanced meal life
After moving into my first “big girl” apartment, I bought a lot of fancy utensils and cookware because I was positive I was going to be throwing these really grown-up dinner parties and potlucks. In reality, I still fall asleep with bags of Cheetos on my stomach. Last week, I woke up at 3 am to eat a spoonful of Nutella and then went back to bed. Ugh.
7. A bank account that doesn’t make me cringe
Sometimes I still transfer money from my savings account to my checking account to pay rent. Sometimes it’s to buy food. Sometimes it’s to buy shoes. As you can tell, my bank account situation is pretty laughable.
8. A social life similar to Sex and The City
Listen, I love my friends, but sometimes it takes us weeks, if not months, to plan a brunch. Everyone is so busy and our schedules are so varied! I feel like that whole series lied to me. Where are my weekly outings with my girls, filled with Cosmos and gossip? Why are so many of my nights spent alone with group texts and Netflix instead?
9. My dream career
This is the one that hurts the most. I always assumed that by 25, I’d be wheeling and dealing in my field and killing it. With all these #riseandgrind and #whileyousleepIgrind hashtags, you’d think we had a generation of people in their careers of choice. Instead, most people I know have a 9 to 5 they hate during the day and are forced to pursue their passions in their spare time.
10. A sandwich named after me
If your main goal in life isn’t to get a sandwich named after you, then we can’t be friends because I just really don’t trust you. I don’t know how to get this done—do I have to eat a lot of sandwiches from one place? Get really famous? Make risky sandwich choices? I pray that there are potato wedges in mine. And a fancy cheese. Please let there be a fancy cheese involved.
I’m not saying that any of these things are needed to be happy or to feel fulfilled or successful at 25, or at any age. In fact, I might be saying the opposite. These just happen to be all the things that a young and inexperienced me thought I’d have by 25, and here I am, not having any of them and feeling pretty happy.
I mean, sure, sometimes I get a little down about the ones that are still important to me (like my dream career, grumble grumble), but I get down about Chick-Fil-A being closed on Sunday and when The Mindy Project isn’t on so, hey, it happens. And I’m actually happy that I don’t have some of these things, because I probably couldn’t handle them. A husband? I still need to figure out my own life before I share it with someone else. A law degree? If I had gone to law school, I’d be miserable and in a lot of debt. A balanced meal plan? Okay, yeah, I should probably be working on that at any age.
I know I’m not where I need to be but, man, I’m trying. I know it’s all going to come together, one day. Not at 25, sure, but I’m working towards it one spoonful of Nutella at a time.
Jennifer Sanchez is a DC based writer who enjoys burgers, fuzzy blankets, and begging her friends to eat outside. When not running her retail-meets-rap lyrics blog In Love With Street Chic or watching a worrisome amount of Food Network, she’s tweeting borderline offensive thoughts which you can follow at @jenniferbunni.