I don’t know why the thought of turning twenty-five scared and scares me so much.
It’s just a number. Right?
Today is my birthday, and instead of being excited and happy like I tend to be on this “special” day. Reaching the 23rd of this month had me feeling nervous, tense, and worried.
Maybe it’s me over-analyzing or maybe generalizing?
No, don’t think so.
Words form my father and mother this morning, “ya has llegado a una edad de sabiduría y madurez”.
Translation: You have reached an age of wisdom and maturity.
My thoughts? “Uhhmmm…well have I? Who says?”
I don’t know if those are the kind of words everyone turning twenty-five gets from their mother and father.
But hearing it made me feel….nervous and worried.
Is it because I’m Mexican?
Is it because my parents by the age of twenty-five had established a life for not only themselves but for their family? Is it because someone of my age in a small town in Jalisco, México (where my parents are from) is expected to be either wed or settled into a family or a career by the age of twenty-five? Are you then considered to be wise and mature? Or is it because a woman of my age is expected to know who she is and where she is going…if she isn’t there already?
Is it different for a Mexican than it is for a Chinese? What about 2nd and 3rd generation…
What does it mean to be wise and mature?…and how do you know you’ve become it?
I remember back when I was in fifth grade…or maybe it was sixth or seventh. My English teacher at the time asked the class to take a break from our reading assignment. She walked around the classroom holding white sheets of paper.
She explained, “ I want everyone to take out a pencil or pen. We are going to do a little exercise. I want all of you to take a few minutes to think…. And then I want you all to envision yourself as twenty-five year olds. I want you to tell me; at the age of twenty-five, where do you see yourself? What do you see yourself doing? What would you like to be doing by the time you’re twenty-five?”.
I remember this exercise perfectly. I don’t remember my exact age, but I was young. I don’t remember in what classroom this took place, and I am not quite sure what teacher assigned the exercise. What I do remember was my response…
“At the age of twenty-five, I am going to be working. I am going to have a good job, and I am going to be a lawyer. I will be married by then but I won’t have any kids…I am going to live in a beautiful house.”
I wonder why out of all numbers, she chose twenty-five? Why not twenty-eight or thirty?!
I also wonder why at the age of eleven or twelve, I would come that conclusion.
Well, yippee! A few years later and I have reached the mature and wise age of twenty-five…BUT I am not married, and I am not a lawyer. I pursued a career that is actually almost the complete opposite.
The route I took was different than expected…
At the age of twenty-two I made this crazy decision of packing up and leaving to México for some time, alone. At the age of twenty-three, I decided I wanted to return to the states and pursue a graduate degree. That same exact year, I decided I was going to move to Los Angeles…again, alone.
The choices I made up until this point have left me…yes, scarred. I’ve also been challenged…it’s all been really tough. I’m sure that if I ‘d chosen to take a different route in life, it could have all been a bit easier…. but then, would I reach the age of twenty-five and be able to consider myself somewhat “wise” and “mature”?
What I am basically trying to say is… that I am now twenty-five years old. No, I am not a lawyer, I am also not married, and I’m not a homeowner. Instead, I am a twenty-five year old Latina who is pursuing her dream. I live alone and I am single. I don’t have a house, but soon enough I’ll have an M.A… wow! I never thought I’d say that.
Having taken risks, having taken a different route has given me a different outcome.
Finally, I am glad that I took a few minutes to write-up this little entry. Remember what I said earlier on? About feeling nervous, worried, and tense… I think that feeling is gone.
I am twenty-five and I am wiser and a bit more “mature”. I guess that’s what life does to you?
As Sotomayor once said, “I would hope that a wise Latina woman, with the richness of her experiences, would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”
Special thanks to Juan Quevedo for sharing that quote with me.