25 Things I Thought I Would Have Achieved by 25

This one’s ALL ABOUT ME.

On the eve of my 25th birthday, I can’t help but think about what “25” has symbolized to me in the decade leading up to it. For the many of you thinking “But you’re still so young!” – think of it from my perspective: this is the oldest I’ve ever been! My intention here is not to whine, but to remark on the perception of “25” I have held for most of my teens and early 20’s. The long and short of it is, in my mind, I feel like I should already be more of a grown up!

The 25 Things I Thought I Would Have Achieved by 25:

1. An Adult Job

I have had a lot of difficulty with getting jobs in the past year, as documented by this post.

Perhaps this was naïve of me, but I always thought that by 25 I would have a decent grasp on what I wanted to do – or at least be on the path towards some sort of greatness.

Instead I have felt more often like Marshall from How I Met Your Mother. 

Except he, at least, gets interviews.

rejection-letter

2. Irresistible Good-Looks

Ok, so this is absolutely naïve, but every time in my early twenties I ate half a cake, or decided to have nachos for dinner AGAIN, I always thought to myself, “This is ok, when I’m older I’ll know better and I’ll be fit and sexy.” That hasn’t happened yet. Also, subjectivity plays a heavy hand, as I’m beginning to learn.

Photo on 13-09-08 at 2.39 PM #3

3. A Life

I have had a life in the past. When I moved countries twice and I think I must have dropped it out the window over the Atlantic Ocean. I’m not a strong enough swimmer to go looking for it, so I have to start from scratch. As a 25 year-old, back living with my parents, with a lot of student debt and low income, this feels like a daunting task. But the process has happily begun!

4. My Own Place

I am so lucky to have the parents I have. I love them, and if they hadn’t offered to house me during this period of my life, I would have been stuck in Edinburgh at my terrible job that was sucking out my soul. But at this point in my life, I thought I would at least be independent enough to have my own place.

5. Love

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You can’t hurry love, no, you just have to wait.

6. Independence

This requires many ingredients. One of which is money.

7. Financial Stability and Debt-Free Status

I think this goes hand-in-hand with the desire for an adult-job, or maybe it will never be? I worked so much the past year, especially in Edinburgh, and it made me even more financially unstable than I ever have been. It was a terrifying glimpse into how some people (which could still include me I suppose) live their whole lives. I don’t know why, but I thought my student loans would just magically disappear with all the money I was going to suddenly come into.

Most awful and pajama-looking uniform ever!

Most awful and pajama-looking uniform ever!

8. The Perfect Wardrobe

I expected to have a perfect grasp of what I look good in, in synthesis with current trends. I still, however, occasionally commit fashion faux-pas!

9. Freedom

Again, this has a bit to do with money. Specifically, I would love to have a car and just be able to drive wherever, whenever.

This would be good too.

This would be good too.

10. Happiness

I understand now that happiness isn’t something you ‘achieve’. It’s not an equation: a + b = happiness; happiness is fluid and constantly in flux from day to day, hour to hour. I believe “being happy” means that your flux remains in the happiness range more often than not – that is a good place to be. I want to go to there.

11. More Travel

I suppose that would require money. Or I need to take my own budget travel advice. I guess I can wait!

12. A Reclaimed Youth

Actually, I guess this HAS happened a bit…

13. Stability

 This will come – I hope!

14. Better Habits

Waking up earlier, eating less cheesy popcorn, watching less tv. These things are in the early stages of happening. Also, the past 3 months I’ve written a weekly To-Do list. I know I’m capable of a lot in very little time, but I’m one of the most lazy and scatterbrained people I know. A To-Do list helps focus me.

15. Acceptance of Mortality and Old-Age

I put this on my To-Do list last week. I wasn’t able to check it off.

16. Perfect Health

I have started eating much healthier (except for the cheesy popcorn) and it feels amazing! My insides sing and I don’t feel heavy or bloated as often. Health is a fluid state and can never really be “achieved” without continuous maintenance (and lots of fluids – ha). But I could certainly have it much worse!

 17. Cool Gadgets

Again, a thing remedied by money. However I just got upgraded by my network to a Galaxy s3 so I shouldn’t complain!

 18. A Following

I am very grateful to the handful of people who read my blog. Please continue and share with your friends!!!

19. A Novel

It’s in the works, but I was hoping to have some sort of significant accomplishment in this area by 25.

 20. The Opposite of Loneliness

I have lovely, amazing friends. BUT NONE OF THEM LIVE NEAR ME. I miss them, and I have only just begun to meet people in my new home.

My 23rd birthday

My 23rd birthday in Victoria, BC

 21. Perfect Skin

I’m not a teenager anymore! When do pimples stop??

 22. Even Longer Hair

How long does that shit take to grow?

 23. An Understanding of What My Body Needs

I know I have a gluten issue, but there’s something else ripping my insides to shreds. It better not be dairy or I will cry forever (I love cheese).

24. Success

I have always been fairly successful, and I guess this last year of non-success has brought me off my pedestal. Perhaps that will be a good thing!

 25. An Idea About What to do in My Late-Twenties, and Goals for Thirty

My Identity is largely based in my youth. I KNOW I’m still young, and, for now, I’m grateful for that. Yet, I also know that I have to start thinking of myself as an adult who needs to start planning for the future – or at least thinking about planning for the future! This is a step I’m not sure I’m ready to take, but I’m afraid to avoid it any longer.

I find it funny how we seem to project increased wisdom and general betterness onto our future selves; it always seems to end up being in a different way from what we expect.

I should say that these are all things that are in progress. Even since I started writing this post a several weeks ago, things have begun to turn around! Of course, at the end of this, I have shifted all of these expectations onto “30.” That’s healthy, right?

Thoughts on Loneliness

They say that even when surrounded by people, you can feel alone. Perhaps even more so than when you are, physically, alone.

Parisian love locks - not everyone is lonely!

Parisian love locks – not everyone is lonely!

During my recent travels I have felt lonely. A lot. I have also thought about what it means to be lonely, how we become lonely, why we feel loneliness.

This guy is so lonely he's going to extreme measures to attract attention. Cover up, buddy!

This guy is so lonely he’s going to extreme measures to attract attention. Cover up, buddy!

With travel, you have to accept a certain amount of loneliness. When I first arrived in Edinburgh, I was living in a hostel. For two weeks I flip-flopped between hyper-social and super-introvert. It’s like you have a certain amount of social energy, and when you are thrust into an extreme social environment like a hostel (especially when you’re travelling alone), it burns out quickly and you must retreat back into yourself, perhaps more so than you would normally, just to refuel. These are the hardest times when you’re travelling, because you see everyone around you socializing and having rad times, and you can’t muster one drop of the energy required to join them.

left-out2

If you have been travelling on your own and have not experienced this, then I congratulate you. You are better at this than I.

Of course, when I packed up my life and moved blindly to Edinburgh, I expected to feel lonely until I settled in and built myself a new life. What I didn’t expect, however, was how long this loneliness would last, and how much a part of me it would become. Don’t get me wrong, I have always highly valued my ‘alone time’ – even when I lived with a dude, and especially with my myriad roommates over the years – but now it has taken on a different quality, or maybe I am just more critically aware of it.

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I find that my feelings of loneliness are directly related to (or the same as) the presence of my own personal happiness in any single moment. If I have a productive day, for example, I am happier with myself. Even if I spend that day alone I do not necessarily feel lonely. The inverse is also true; when I do nothing, I feel less happy with myself and am more susceptible to loneliness – even if there are people around. This fact about me may have always been true, but I was not aware of it until recently. I love learning stuff about yourself, you feel so much more in tune with what you need!

Evidence of past productiveness: thesis notes

Evidence of past productiveness: thesis notes

Loneliness, or aloneness, can sometimes be exactly what I want. My favourite example of this was recently, when I went with my brother to the Muse concert in the Stade de France, Paris. The absolute best moment was during Madness; I closed my eyes and through some kind of magic, the thousands of people in the supermassive stadium disappeared, and it was just me and Muse and the music. It was glorious. Having my own isolated experience, and then looking over to lil’bro with tears of his own emotional reaction to this song, well, it was a good feeling. A shared loneliness.

M-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-mad-mad-mad

M-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-mad-mad-mad

Now that I’m back at home for the time being, I was hoping that my new ever-present quality of loneliness would subside. It has to a degree, but the only time it disappeared almost completely was when my best friend was visiting for a few days last week. Since I was around both my family and a friend, I felt more fulfilled than just with one or the other. I still think, however, that it is with myself that I need to feel content to eradicate loneliness altogether. I guess it’s time to start figuring out what I want out of life and what I need to do to achieve it.

The cold, slippery railroad of life. It's a perilous journey!

The cold, slippery railroad of life. It’s a perilous journey!

In the meantime, I got a cat.

Winston LVOES ME!

Winston LOVES ME!