many all of us born in 1986, this is the year we turn the big 2-5 and say goodbye to one demographic (18-24) and accept, begrudgingly or with open arms, our induction into the 25-34 club. First off: congratulations, everyone! We made it! If honor student bumper stickers and participation trophies have taught us anything, it’s that no accomplishment is too small or too not-an-accomplishment to merit recognition. You’ve managed to keep yourself alive and breathing for exactly a quarter of a century, which is no minor feat considering the amount of Nikolai vodka you drank in college. Another round of applause for the birthday guys and gals!
But as with any celebratory event, rabble-rousing inevitably gives way to sober reflection and the realization that 25 is more complicated than its perfect square configuration would suggest. Pros AND cons attend this unique birthday, and as the title of this post would suggest we’re now going to straight up talk about all of them. It goes without saying, but hold onto your butts.
PRO: Mathematical Perfection
25 doesn’t bear the immediate social distinction of other “you made it!” birthdays like 18 or 21 (or 23, in certain obscure Fijian villages), but if we’re judging based on rounded numerical edges and mathematical divisibility — and we should — then 25 craps all over the rest. Exactly half of 50, or how old I assume my parents are? A quarter of 100? It’s really the perfect post-college vantage point from which to reflect on the past, ponder the near-future, and predict (with complete certainty) the distant beyond.
CON: Quarter-Life Crisis
If like any normal person you hope to live to exactly 100 years of age then die immediately afterwards, 25 is the year in which you’ll be having your quarter-life crisis. That is literally just math! While these crises vary from culture to culture, if you’re a middle-class or above American with a blog or Tumblr you can expect: ruminating on your post-college financial record; questioning your relationship shortcomings; wondering why you didn’t just major in finance; blogging about the decision not to major in finance; doing improv; and one time calling your parents by their first names then immediately returning to the more comfortable “Mom” and “Mom’s boyfriend.” The good news is that, like Chicken Pox, once you’ve contracted quarter-life crisis you can never catch it again. (NOTE: Do NOT push it off until 26 — do you want to be celebrating your 104th birthday party when the rest of us are four-years-dead? Again, math.)
PRO: You Have a Stable and Satisfying Job!
That first year out of school you sucked up and took Mamet-levels of verbal abuse all while living over a Blockheads in Murray Hill, but three years later you are a junior something and well on your climb to the top of your chosen field. When you order a drink, it’s brand-name; when you eat pizza, you go gourmet. Even if insecurity gnaws at you day and night, you’ve advanced far enough in your acting classes to be able to mask it behind well-timed high-fives and jibes at the secretary, Deborah. “She’s so fat!” (I don’t care who you are, that’s just a good one.) Your parents are proud of you, God is proud of you, and your doorman is counting on you this holiday season for a larger bonus than you gave him last year.
CON: You Might Not Have a Job!
It’s 1996 — congratulations, you’ve just landed a job as content coordinator at Pets.com, or a spot in the Blockbuster executive training program! Flash back to 1956 — you’re a woman with a ready secretarial position waiting for her, or your dad can still somehow backdoor you into a doctor’s coat (even if he has to fudge a few documents). In today’s world, a 25-year-old college graduate — a disease-free one too, with a blog — can’t land a job at McDonald’s flipping burgers. Whether you’re over- or under-qualified is sort of impossible to tell when the guy that landed the drive-through window gig has three Masters degrees.
CON: You’re No Longer “Just Out of College”
(As with anything reflective and list-based, Thought Catalog has already trod this ground with greater craftsmanship but DAMMIT — Lifting Fog has something to say, too!)
Just like offering “the economy” as a rejoinder to anyone asking you about job prospects (or why you insist on eating at McDonald’s practically every day), using “I’m just out of college” to justify and deflect criticism both personal and professional worked in 2008-9 and even parts of 2010, but in 2011…your schtick has grown tired. You’re now THREE years removed from school, practically the duration of school itself, and the idea that you can still cling to your undergraduate years as a conversational life-raft is laughable. Hahahahaha! Of course once you jettison the connection, the question remains: what are you? Your profession? A mid-20s…person? I usually hedge my bets and tell people I’m a “third year in the school of life,” which has won me as many friends as it’s lost me. Try it!
CON: Aren’t You Embarrassed to be Asking Your Parents for Money?
Well, you should be.
PRO: No-Hassle Car Rentals
Right? No more “underage fees”; no more suspicious looks from the Avis reps. Easy-breezy checkout!
…I know, this is barely a pro.
CON: You Are Now Just Two Years Away from Death (If You Are a Hard-Living Musician)
Consider yourself warned now, I guess, if you’re a popular member of a band or singer with a taste for high-end drugs: if you don’t cut it out sometime this year or next, you’re probably going to choke to death on a ham sandwich. (Or, you know, OD on heroin.) Your other option is to maintain your drug addiction…but avoid becoming famous. That way even if you die, the likelihood of you joining the other 27 Clubbers on their Wikipedia page is slim.
PRO: You Get Older, The High School Chicks Stay the Same Age
In conclusion, there are good things about turning 25 and bad things about turning 25. How you view the milestone will likely be informed by how you view life, generally: as an ultimately happy, amazing thing for which we should every day be thankful; or as an impediment toward death, and the 60″ plasma waiting for us in the Heaven common room.
…DUH, it’s the former. Rapture-passovers: it gets better!