IMPORTANT UPDATE: I Am Officially Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman.

amen. preach. yup.

amen. preach. yup.

Well kids, it’s the beginning of the end; my twenty-fifth birthday is on Monday.

Yup, the big quarter-century label is coming for me faster than the cops who are hassling me to pay all my parking tickets.

I’m facing my last weekend as a twenty-four-year old and forcing myself to look back and reflect on how exactly I got here. You know, in life and stuff.

I don’t even remember anything that happened before third grade, so let’s start there.

I was six-years-old, sitting on a rock outside my grandparent’s barn holding a stray cat my uncles had taken in thinking I wanted to be a veterinarian.

It was that easy.  You just grew up, found something you loved, and did it. 

I loved animals; I owned a hamster, liked petting cats, and frequently wrestled with dogs; so I was going to be a vet.

When I was eight, I got pissed off at my parents and decided that I wanted to renounce my position in the family and live off the land like Pocahontas.  I gathered up all the belongings any eight-year-old would need, put them in a backpack, and left my house in a fury to make a statement.

My mother didn’t notice I was gone for over four hours, she just thought I was playing outside like a normal girl when I returned home for dinner because I had forgotten all about the food and shelter portion of survival outside a house. I did, however, bring an extensive collection of cds for my battery operated discman, and a slew of J-14 magazines.

At age ten, I remember falling so deeply in love with Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic to the point where I was determined to become an actress.  I joined the school play in fifth grade; I did anything I could to sabotage my family’s home videos and get experience in the spotlight.

The only issue was I had no acting talent, which was evident in my being cast as ‘stage crew,’ and my mother was not supportive in my newfound endeavor to become rich and famous before I could correctly spell the word ‘business’ on the first try.

this is how you look when you're 25. i think?

this is how you look when you’re 25. i think?

Which, in hindsight, my adolescent track record with drinking and recreational drug use would have landed me in the same position as Lindsay Lohan right now.  So thanks, Mom.  You did me a solid on crushing that fifth grade dream.

I actually blacked out all of middle school and don’t remember anything except for when Mrs. Townsend gave my friend Jocelyn and I a detention because we purposely put our left hands instead of our right hands over our hearts one too many times during the pledge of allegiance.  Apparently that was disrespectful.

All throughout high school I was almost certain that I wanted to go into marketing and advertising.  It was what my dad did.  He had season tickets to the New York Rangers and frequently used us kids as pilot testers for his agency’s commercials.  It seemed like a pretty badass career field.

I never listened when he told me how much he hated his job, never saw how overworked and overtired he was, and I conveniently never remembered how often he wasn’t there for the most formative years of my life.

It wasn’t until college that I realized I was extremely lazy and wanted summers off for the rest of my life.  The stark reality of the real life work force haunted my dreams and made me gain over thirty pounds.

That last statement was false, I gained thirty pounds because I was in college and drank handles of vodka after eating two-hour dinners at the all you can eat dining halls.  And I refused to exercise because the gym was too crowded and stretchy pants were in style.

I was twenty-one, fat, and going into my senior year at UConn when my mother pointed out how much I loved working with children.  I decided I was going to switch my major with four credits short of a Media Communications degree and pursue teaching; a field in which I had absolutely no idea what exactly was entailed.  But it had summers off.

At the end of my schooling, I had collected a Masters in Teaching, a Bachelors in Media Communications, and a Bachelors in English.  I wanted to be a middle school English teacher in Boston.  So I moved;  because finding teaching jobs in a city at a reputable school, with nice kids, and good pay is really easy to do.

It wasn’t.  I was twenty-three and unemployed.

I do have a job now, though.  And I like it.  But I didn’t use any of my degrees to get it, which is just both comical and completely depressing all at the same time.

Ultimately, I learned it was never going to be as easy as finding something you love and doing it.  

With three days left until twenty-five inevitably smacks me in the face like my hangover will on Sunday, I am humbled by all the failed dreams I’ve had, and cling to the ones I still have.  There is no way of knowing which will come true, and which, if not all, will be epic failures.

I can say wholeheartedly that I have not a goddamn clue in the world where I will be in five years.  None of my previous ambitions really panned out the way I wanted or wished, but I can only hope that with this birthday, I will magically be gifted the knowledge of what the fuck I am supposed to be doing with my life.

Until then, we can always thank the high heavens and my mother that I did not become Lindsay Lohan or Pocahontas.

Sixteen Things I Wish I Knew When I Was Sixteen

110_1005991425174_1486_nI’m going to let you in on a few secrets.  It might make your life a little easier.

But I also know you don’t listen, so this will probably fall on deaf ears.

Right now, you’re in a bubble.  You are comfortable. You’ve been in the same place for your entire life.  But there are things you need to know.  It’s important to understand that when you grow up, your perspectives on things change.

You’re going to be mature as hell.

So stop spending so much time worrying about what other people think of you.  High school is only temporary, and you’re only going to keep in touch with about seven people after you graduate.  These four years of your life are nothing compared to the time you’re going to spend after college with new friends who are with you through the actual hard stuff.

You should still take care of your appearance.  No one looks put together when they come to school wearing their brother’s sweatpants.  Waking up ten minutes before you have to leave is only acceptable if you’re an infant and can’t set an alarm clock.

Put on some jeans and some mascara and look like you actually care about being alive. Dead people kind of tend to emit this “don’t come near me” radar, and it’s pretty powerful.

Don’t drive like an idiot.  But also don’t drive like a senior citizen.  Find a balance somewhere between a glacial pace and road rage and get comfortable.  Always use your turn signals, and never call it a traffic circle.  It’s a rotary.

Eat whatever you want.  Just stop when you’re full.  Moderation is the only way to keep yourself sane.

People go apeshit when they stop eating chocolate.  And no, eating six mini-Kit Kats does not equal eating one regular sized Kit Kat.  Candy math is not a valid reason for overindulgence.

Please stop complaining about how hard your life is.  It’s difficult to take you seriously when you drive a Jeep Wrangler and have an inground swimming pool.  Get a job.

Slap yourself in the face whenever you use the term ‘literally’ and you’re not talking about something that is actually going on in that precise moment.  Do not say you are literally going insane, unless you want to be committed to a mental institution.  This will save you from looking stupid.

Stop saying ‘like’.  It’s really annoying and it makes you sound like Cher from Clueless, except, Paul Rudd will not like you.

Organized dances are overrated.  Spend less money on your prom dress and more money on making sure your hair doesn’t look like an afro.  Highlights are encouraged; a straightener is required.

Start to take more emotional risks.  Closing yourself off will only leave you feeling left out when everyone else has found someone to share their lives with. Figure out what you want and go for it.  Not everything is handed to you.

Rejection only hurts a little.  And wine is the cure for all sorts of emotional bruises.

Save your money.  You will eventually want to move out.  You will not want to bring your poster of The Jonas Brothers to your first apartment.  Buy some art.  And maybe a comforter that doesn’t scream, “I threw up pink.”

Stop being rude to your mother.  Understand that she’s been where you are and is just trying to help.  She also is completely justified to ground you when you sneak out, drink underage, come home late, or don’t call.  Avoid all this by communicating with her.  It will be so much easier.

Your father is pretty cool.  Sit down and talk to him; he will make you laugh.  A lot of your weird tendencies and comedic attributes come from him anyways. You don’t spend enough time with him, and you will regret that.

You might dislike your brothers.  Sorry to say it, but you will still get pissed off at them later in life.  They are boys. They do not think.  Stop holding grudges and get over it.  You’re stuck with them forever, may as well make the best of it.  (Sidenote: you will end up being good friends, just wait it out.)

Don’t take life too seriously.  You’re not here for very long.

For what it’s worth, you turned out okay.  You grew up, you moved out, and made your life interesting.