art by Lola Rose Thompson

“I just want to be 25!” I exclaimed while on a date with someone who was 27 him self. I didn’t make that proclamation because I wanted him to like me more and feel as though, despite being seven years his junior, I was still on the same page as him. I made that proclamation because I believe it and stand by it firmly.

At first thought I decided 25 was the prime age, but my date was quick to correct me.

“You want to be 27,” he said firmly and matter-of-factly.

“Explain. Convince me why.” I was curious. What changed within those two years? Why would I be so much better off as a 27 year old compared to a 25 year old? In my mind 25 was the perfect age. You graduated college, you have a job, its fun whether you’re single and going out with friends, or in a relationship and going out with your partner, and you haven’t reached the point where you’re too old and too tired to live life to the fullest.

I imagined myself leaving work and meeting up with friends at a bar, enjoying happy hour cocktails and flirting with other 25 year-olds. I pictured myself living in an awesome apartment in the city, which I decorated with overpriced yet cute home goods from Anthropologie, being self sufficient, and maybe even finally learning how to cook (but probably not because I’d eat out at trendy city restaurants).

Apparently I stood corrected.

“When you’re 25 you have a job, but its not yet a career. You’re young in the workforce so you’re not quite respected and you’re probably still making an entry-level salary, or at best something slightly above it. You’re working your butt off in the office from 7am until 7pm – or longer – so you can be respected and so you can start making more money. It’s only been a year since you stopped being on your parents’ health insurance plan, and you’re still getting used to the swing of things in adulthood. The haze of 21, 22, 23, 24 year-old post-grad life is over, and you’re still adjusting your lenses as you’re introduced to the real world.”

Without giving me a chance to take it all in he continued.

“But when you’re 27 or 28, you’re still in your 20s, and you’re still young enough to have all the fun you did when you were 25, instead you have more money to do it. You’ve finally gotten the hang of adulthood—at least you should have by then. You’ve moved up in your company, your career is finally kick-started, no, your life is fully kick-started. Trust me, you want to be 27.”

And there it was: the supposed perfect image of life.

We continued chatting over our chef’s tasting meal at a new restaurant on 13th street in Center City called The Double Knot, but I was paying less attention to his story about his “college buddies” and was still internally contemplating all he had said about age. Twenty-seven wasn’t my idea of the perfect age, it was my date’s. Perhaps he’s biased because he’s currently living a fantastic life as a 27 year-old, or perhaps he had a bad experience as a 25 year old.

Today, as I sit outside on my back porch I couldn’t help but feel overcome with an overwhelming sense of adulthood, and an overwhelming sense that perhaps I was rushing its presence.

Twenty-five was one thing. It didn’t seem too old, too unattainable. But 27. Twenty-eight. Those two ages sounded frightening. They didn’t match the dream, the perfect image of a life I had created for myself. Twenty-seven and 28 seemed too far off in the distance, too unreachable. Twenty-five was perfect for me. Perhaps I wouldn’t be making the money I would at 27 or 28, and maybe I’d still be getting used to the whole “adulting” thing, but being 25 would mean I still had the inner child in me. Twenty-five would mean I would still be able to hold onto the days, like today, where I am sitting on my back porch, drinking a beer while writing.

Then it hit me. I need to hold onto these days. The days of a 19 (soon to be 20) year old, spent sitting on the back porch of my college house, writing about anything and everything because I can, because I want to, and because I didn’t have work that day, and drinking a Stella Artois, which I was somehow able to buy a six-pack of without being carded.


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