I'm 25.

Yep, I turned 25 on Tuesday. I think I'll just add to the numerous other blog posts you can find out there now about "How it feels to turn 25" and "What every girl should learn before she's 30" and "What every woman needs to accomplish in her 20's."

Here's the thing. Yeah, turning 25 is actually kind of weird. I'm still young (even though I prefer a 10:00 bedtime over my usual 11:30 bedtime), but now I'm over that "youthful" hump. I sort of feel like as you progress towards 25, every age before that is really juvenile. 24, 23, 22? All of those count as being 22. 21? That years flies by...for some reason... Everything before 21, is soooo baby. You knew nothing!

But 25? I feel like the things I have learned thus far in my life are coming into practice more and more. I act like my mom, I embrace that, and even respect that. She's a pretty awesome woman. Before this I was probably in denial that I would be like her. In fact I remember hating in college when my sisters would tell me I act like her... now? Great! My mom has the most youthful personality. Why would I want anything less? 

Now when is the patience of my dad supposed to show up? I could really use his patient demeanor sometimes. Ha!

I don't know what it is about saying "I'm 25" that suddenly feels so weird. I'm sure it has to do with the fact that I'm now closer to 30. Or that now the "aging process" is going to start reaping its rewards on my laugh lines. Whatever it is, it got my biological clock ticking and ON MY BIRTHDAY I got in this whole saga with Tom about it. It was pretty hysterical. It was basically me letting the words "I'm OLD!!!" reverberate in the air for 45 minutes (side note: I'm not really old).

Anyways, all those posts out there tell you to travel the world (if that's what you want to do) and learn to eat alone (if that's what you want to do) and follow your dream to the ends of the earth (if that's what you want to do) and buy yourself grown-up clothes (if that's what you want to do) and fall in love or out of love (if that's what you want to do) and take care of your body and soul (if that's what you want to do) and quit your job (if that's what you want to do)....and so on and so forth.

Let me sum up what they mean: Do. What. You. Want. To. Do.

The thing is, you don't have to travel the world or buy yourself grown-up clothes or fall in love to be happy in this life. I'm not saying that any of those things aren't admirable. I think they all have a place. But if the whole point is to do what YOU want to do, then what is some list on someone's blog about what to accomplish before you're 30 ever going to do FOR YOU?

And frankly, we are not on this earth for ourselves. God put us here. We are here for Him first and then for our friends and neighbors. Sure, maybe a list like the ones described will give you a sense of empowerment and maybe some ideas of where to start - there is nothing wrong with that. I like to know that something I write will empower others to speak their minds, share Christ, forgive, say sorry, try something new, or do something they've always dreamed of doing but never had the courage.

I could sit here and give you a list of things I can think of that I want to accomplish before I'm 30, but what good is that for you? Make your OWN list! Don't follow some super general list that every other 20-something is trying to emulate. 

Don't sit there at your 9-to-5 job judging Susie for getting married and having kids instead of going to college. Her dreams and aspirations are not yours. And maybe what you always THOUGHT was your dream, will change. People tell you "TRAVEL!"... but from one person to the next, that may or may not be important.

A year ago I wanted to be a career driven, corporate somebody. Now? That's not at all what I want. I have the resources to explore something different, and I am so blessed to have that opportunity. But you know what? Some of the people I left behind DO want to be a career driven, corporate somebody and I admire their dedication. I'm proud of them for fulfilling their goals. I have goals of my own, and who is to tell either me, or the next person what they should and should not accomplish in this life? DO YOU! That is the beauty of this God-given life. He gives us many different paths to walk - some tougher than others, but all in His plan, nonetheless. 

As for me...my wish, in this 25th year of life, is that I "do me" and love others in the process.

LifeJoy Johnson