As I’ve mentioned, this blog is a springboard into the memoir that I’m working on about love. While the blog will look at the years 1983-2013 (ages 7-37), the memoir focuses on the years 1992-2012 (ages 16-36). On this blog, I am publishing 30 years of my journal entries; in my memoir, I am writing about 20 years of love — from my first kiss to my family of four.
Yesterday, I was working on a chapter about the relationship I had from August 1999 to March 2001 with a man from New Jersey/New York whom I met in-the-middle-of-no-where Wyoming. He was 11 years older than me — and when we broke up, I was turning 25.
25. Why is that age so significant? I’ve written a lot about our 20s versus our 30s, but what about that salient age of 25? In my journals, I talk a lot about turning 25. Here’s an excerpt:
I’m 25 in almost a month. Everyone freaks out about this birthday. The guy who signed me up for my gym membership and I talked about why. He said, the “life goals” aspect of it — meaning people start to think about where they are in life. He said I’m probably not freaking out because I’m on track, doing what I want to be doing and thinking about it.
At the time, I thought I was “on track,” doing what I wanted to do. I had just finished graduate school classes, and I had just started my semester student teaching high school English in a Chicago suburb. My career was “on track.” I was in a long-distance relationship with the man I thought I would marry; my plan was to move to New York when the semester finished.
Plans change. They always do. Two months into student teaching, I knew I wanted to be a teacher but I wasn’t sure I wanted to move out east to start my career. I’m a Midwest girl. Lake Michigan pumps through my blood — and once I moved to Chicago, I felt at home; I didn’t want to leave.
There were many reasons why the guy from New Jersey/New York and I broke up — and if you stay with this blog, or my memoir gets published, you’ll read all about them. But I think a big factor in our break-up was the fact that I was turning 25.
25. I found my career and I wanted to start it, but I wanted to start it in the place I wanted to call home: Chicago. When I signed my first contract a few weeks after I turned 25 at a school in another Chicago suburb (the same school I teach at today), I knew my relationship was truly over. It had ended a few weeks prior, but — as break-ups often do — it took awhile for it to be over for good.
When we broke up (over the phone), he actually said the words: “oh, you’re turning 25, no wonder.” At 36, he knew what 25 meant. Twenty-five is when things start to change, begin to turn over — the slow march toward the machine.
For me, it would be five more years until I got married and eight more years until I had my first child, but at 25, the notions of responsibility and “settling down” kicked in. My career and my city were chosen — and the rest was soon to follow.
How are you feeling about turning 25? OR Was 25 a milestone year for you?