25 year old Janine is coming

It has become popular among my friends to create a “25 for 25” list; a list of 25 things to do during their 25th year in life.

My first thought was, “Shouldn’t we have a list for each year?” My second thought was, “Why limit it to 25?” My third thought was, “Oh Jesus, I’m going to be 25 in November.”

25. Quarter of a century. It seems like a small (read: meaningless) milestone to those who are middle-aged and older (ahem, mom and dad). But I can’t help but think back to 10 year old Janine and who she thought 25 year old Janine would be. I wish there was an actual list, but I imagine it would read something like this:

25 year old Janine will

  • have a husband
  • know John Travolta
  • be a famous movie actress
  • dress really fancy and adult-like
  • have a home
  • a baby
  • live across the street from mom and dad


I’m sure if you’re reading this you know that “24 year old Janine” can cross absolutely NONE of this items off the list, and I’m pretty positive that nothing will change in the next few months leading up to the big quarter of a century. But the miraculous part of all of this is that “24 year old Janine” doesn’t want most things that “10 year old Janine” wanted-or at least expected- for her 14 years ago.

It’s normal for a young child to think the world will come together and form a neat little suburban bubble by the age of 20. When I speak to my young students they constantly ask me how old I am, if I’m married, and then why not. I always laugh at this, because in my mind, it makes more sense for “24 year old Janine” to not be married and not have kids yet. But to a 7 year old, I’m looking like a huge loser.

Once you leave college, begin to work and live independently, time changes and expectations are altered. This isn’t a failure. It’s a mature realization that life is an unexpected journey. You learn that you won’t have the dream job just yet, especially since you won’t know what your dream job even is. You might not have meant the person who complements you best. And you more than likely accepted the fact that you and John Travolta will never be in a movie together.

It bothers me to no end when I hear friends say “I thought I’d be married by now” or “I have two more years before I want to be married” (please note: a few of my friends are married, engaged, or bridal obsessed). I would ask them, “How can you put a timeline on your life like that?” I can understand wanting to finish college by a certain point or having a full-time job by a certain age, but how can someone say “I plan to meet the person of my dreams who will love me as well and we will dedicate our lives (LIFETIME) to one another by next year”?

I gag at the thought of signing a two year contract.

“10 year old Janine” never anticipated where 24 year old Janine would end up (I didn’t know where Mississippi was), the adventures she would go on (Italy, the Deep South, living alone a thousand miles from family, New Orleans!), the challenges she overcame ( a childhood best friend dying, a boyfriend and “best friend” betraying me behind my back, surviving a job that sucked the soul out of me, moving to a new city alone), and how could she?

So let’s move on from “10 year old Janine” and focus on “25 year old Janine”. What do I want to experience? What do I want to accomplish? Who do I want to be when I turn into “26 year old Janine”?

I’m going to start compiling a list that will be ready in time for November 1st. It will be posted on here and together we can share the experience of being a quarter of a century old.

I encourage you to do the same, even if you are turning 12 or 79. It would be awesome to share that together.

scattered impressions

scattered impressions

Be inspired by your life and see where you can go.


5 thoughts on “25 year old Janine is coming

  1. angeria, wifey, bff says:

    you can totally cross off: dress really fancy and adult like. and i know that you still want to meet john travolta. haha.

    i like 10 year old janine. but i LOVE 24 (soon to be 25) year old janine.

  2. Melia says:

    Love this post. I, too, thought I’d have a husband and a house at 25. I think I also assumed that I’d have a job that I’d keep for the rest of my life. Well, life is funny, because none of those things came true by 25, and thank goodness for that!

    At my 10-year high school reunion, it was cool to see that my classmates and I had all taken different paths in life: some had three kids, others were in grad school, some were in high-profile careers, and others were in between projects. And that was just fine. Life has its own timeline for us, if we can relax and let it unfold.

    I turn 31 this summer and will make a list of 31 things I’d like to do in the coming year. Thanks for the fun idea!

  3. Tom Head says:

    I’m turning 33 next month, and will do the same. This looks really fun!

  4. Selena says:

    Janine, if you married John Travolta, you wouldn’t be living across the street from mom and dad….John would be nice enough to let them live in your compound together.

    By the way, 5 year old Selena would have been a Singing Ballerina Mail-woman (instead of mailMAN…I was progressive even at that age)

    Love your perspective!

  5. Sophia Dacy-Cole says:

    Hello! It’s Sophia, the gushing one from last night. This blog is excellent. You’re very funny.

    Wow. Living in Italy.

    I just got back from the most heartbreaking exchange trip to Italy, and spent six months running around the-best-city-in-the-world-Melbourne (Where every cafe sells gluten free and vegan food, the sun shines quite often, student jobs can pay up to $30 an hour and I get to spend most of my time making art in a massive student studio…) saying “I hate it here. I want to go back to Italy.”

    I’d say that “move to Italy properly, and speak Italian like a local and not like a moron” is second only to “work out what the fuck I’m doing with my life, and where my degree is taking me.” From this side of the fence, it’s pretty impressive that you’ve done both.

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