Mad props to my little sister Stephanie on her birthday for heroically reaching number 25. I am proud of her. She writes good. But that's not why I'm proud of her. She has, I think, begun to find her place. She is growing into a woman with more sense and wisdom than I think she realizes, which affirms that she's got some sense and wisdom.
So Stephanie, welcome to the second quarter century of life. I suspect this is the best one.
I don't have my journals handy to see where I was on my 25th birthday. It was ]three years and some change ago. I can't really remember it, but if I did have access to the proper documentation, I would probably see that I worked a late shift at Papa John's or something. I think around that time I was trying to figure out what to do with my life, wondering why it was that I was still delivering pizzas at Papa John's and not slowly ascending a corporate ladder somewhere or adventuring off into the world somewhere.
Just a few months after that birthday I was standing at Papa John's, feeling old at 25, wondering if that was beyond the appropriate age to work at summer camp, when Ben called me and asked if I'd like to come work at summer camp. I told him yes, I would very much like to come work at summer camp again. So I did.
And that summer, I really did feel kinda old at 25 because most of my coworkers were in the first half of their collegiate education. Now I feel like 25 wasn't old, not nearly as old as 28 is. 28 is old.
But then I realize... someday I'll think the same thing about 28. I'll be 31 or 32 or something and I'll be like, man... 25 wasn't old. 28 wasn't old. 31 is old. But then someone told me that the 30s are pretty sweet. So I don't know what to think about what is or isn't old, so maybe you just don't think about it. I'm pretty sure the best way to ruin youth is to think about it constantly and worry about how you hang onto it. That's how you become old and crazy; how you get embarrassed about your age even though all you did was get born; how you become "best-friend parent" like Amy Poehler in the movie Mean Girls, which I'm only referencing because my little sister loves it. If I had seen She's The Man or if I listened to Butch Walker, I'd reference them too.
Birthdays after 25, I think, decrease in importance. They only matter every ten years when the first digit in your age changes. 26 is a lot like 25. 27 is a lot like 26. 28 is a lot like 27. I am less and less concerned with equating "what I'm going to do with my life" with "what I do to get my paycheck."
I've taken some kind of big, scary, weird step of faith in life each year since I turned 25. Went back to camp. Moved to Saint Joe. Went back to camp again. Moved to Puerto Rico. Stayed in Puerto Rico. Man, my life is weird. And I don't regret one thing about how I've spent my years since the big 2-5. I think this is what your 20s are for. It was A-OK for me, at 25, not to have my whole trajectory all mapped out.
So, Steph... Enjoy 25, it's gonna be great. It's okay not to have it all figured out. Live for The Kingdom, not this kingdom.