29 days

in 29 days, i turn 25. i know that in the grand scheme of things, that is very young, but right now, it feels like A Big Deal. my friends who are already 25, or 26, or 27, laugh at me when i say it seems big. but it does! and i bet everyone goes through the same “uh, holy crap” emotions that i feel about this birthday.

first, when i was really little, and crazy imaginative, and watched the news, and saw the stories about young women who met a terrible end, i was convinced i wouldn’t make it to 18. so 18 was a big deal. my 20th felt big. my 21st ended in tears in my best friend’s room for many reasons, none of them intoxicated. 25 feels big but i cannot explain why. maybe because i know people who lost people before they hit 25. or because this past year holds the loss of my mother’s parents, and even though they were in their 80s and 90s, it still felt too soon. i started to think that life is never long enough. that isn’t morbid, i don’t think – i think it’s simply a realization of a person growing up a bit more.

second, aging is normal, but i’m surrounded by a culture that shuns it. not my friends and family, but culture as a whole. and despite being pretty confident in myself, there is an occasional crazy voice in the back of my head that freaks out over 25 as an age thing. i can’t help but see all the articles about HOW MANY EGGS YOU HAVE LEFT and WRINKLES WILL RUIN YOUR FACE and DREAD THE GREY HAIRS and METABOLISM LEAVES AT 25. for all my efforts at being grounded, sometimes all that font yelling at me gets to me.

which is why i maybe bought an anti-aging moisturizer. good lord.

but then i remind myself of a few things. at least related to that second point. first, regarding my RAPIDLY DISAPPEARING EGGS? chill. out. i am in no hurry to have a baby. i have other things to deal with before i can be remotely responsible enough to raise another person. as to WRINKLE-DOOM? my mom, and my grandma, and my aunt, all have wrinkles. they’re gorgeous and terribly saucy women, and i would be honored to be like them when i grow up. BRING ON THE WRINKLES, i say. i mean, maybe not tomorrow, but aren’t wrinkles signs of a good laugh? or something? whatever. grey hair? eh. i can dye my hair. or be rogue for halloween.

now. regarding my metabolism leaving forever (which – yeah….that doesn’t ACTUALLY happen. you always have a metabolism. and i’m pretty sure the science is off on the fast/slow thing)? and sort of combining it with my thought that life is never long enough? well. may i present my new year’s goal. not the new year as in 2012 (we all know the world ends then). but as in, my 25th year kicking in on mother earth. my goal for me, starting with turning 25, is to actually take care of me. over the past year, i’ve been working to get my finances healthier. that i will keep up (duh). i will actually go to the gym. not just say it. but go. (some of you will be on “text tess to go to the gym” duty). i think i may give up some of my less healthy habits. no more soda, at all. this past week, a cold meant i didn’t really want coffee at all…and so i think i may keep that up, too. switch to tea. find my own energy. there are social goals – being a better friend on a lot of levels. being a better relative (cards! phone calls! random emails!).

part of this is going to involve finding some tangible goals. i will marinate on those goals (YES. marinate. i’m starving. i meant ruminate but i’m leaving it as is.) over the next 29 days. maybe i’ll post a goal a day? uh. that may be asking a lot. but i think that if i have a goal (run a 5k. now run a…more-k-run!), then i might stand a chance of adhering to this plan.

so what i need from you, dearest reader, are suggestions. what goals are good ones? fun goals, i mean. i will worry about Big Goals. you come up with fun things for me to do in this 25th year. nothing like skydiving, i am not mental. make this my turning-25 bucket list. and bonus points if there are ideas of things we can do together. kindly keep in mind my status as a Poor Graduate Student With Loans, and think of cheap or free things.