Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Hello, my name is Dina, and I am 25!
I’ve been 25 for a month now. Can hardly believe I call 22 year olds younger people. Can hardly believe my brother is almost 30 (and still looks younger than me). I just cannot believe I’m 25. It’s such a well rounded number, quarter of a century, quarter life crisis, my life is now divisible by 5, 5 squared! The thing is, I don’t really understand what it is to be 25. What does it mean? Will something great and wonderful happen? Will it be another year in life? Will my world collapse and fall apart, or will I learn a new secret that no one else knows? To me, 25 does not make sense!
The natural question would be: what makes 25 so special? Why is 25 different than 24? Why is 25 giving me the blues in a way that makes blue seem pale? And the natural answer is: It’s all in my head! Dear reader, since you’re reading this, you’re looking into my head, a privilege which only my closest friends are allowed to be exposed to, sort of like radioactive material, and probably has the same effect too! Dina, Focus! Sorry people! Anywho, I can honestly say there are 2 phases of adulthood, or near adulthood, prior to 25:

Phase 1: College

This is where life spins and I spin in the opposite direction! We meet new people, learn new things, have to deal with professors, and learn that a “D” is not the end of the world and it’s actually OK to skip a couple of classes. We learn how to think, figure out what we want, work on so many different things and try new experiences. Not to mention all the exercise we get from running after the bus and the satisfaction of going out without our parents knowing.
In college, I felt like my personality was changing per semester. It was total exposure to a world that I didn’t even know existed. In college, I was in my early 20’s. In college, nothing was wrong because I was experiencing life with the wide-eyed curiosity of a child in Neverland. The world was NOT my oyster, but then again, I finally figured out there is an oyster to begin with!

Phase 2: After College

After college I started working, giving it all I can, learning new things at quite a fast pace, which I owe both to the company I worked for then and I guess to that age’s “pushing the limits” attitude. I wanted all; learn about anything and everything related to my work, which I was totally in love with. At that age also, I was engaged; my first relationship ever! It also seemed like I have a lot to learn and grow into. I wanted to do everything right, move on into a new life with so many new possibilities. 30 looked so far away then, and older people were, well, older people! I didn’t mind being treated as “the kid” because I was “the kid”. A little while later, I learned that loving my job is just stupid, relationships are not as movie like as I thought they were, and that the world had so much more to offer than what I was asking it for.

On my 24th birthday, I panicked! I had one year to do a ton of things before 25, which sounds so much like a milestone for something which is in itself a mystery. The ton of things included learning to play the Cello and ride bikes, write more, bungee jumping, figure out the secret of life maybe, or even discover the fountain of youth. I created an Un-bucket list; a list of things to do in life not things to do before I die. I decided to take life to the limit using all the free time 1 whole year before 25 can give me. I wouldn’t have done it without a friend like Eini, who knows how to push me, and who so horribly left me to pursue his future as a PhD student in USA (I wish him all the best and most of all to come back soon, but it still sucks that my best friend is not here).
So my actual achievements during the 24th year of my life were more like trying to find happiness, discover my simple pleasures, and come up with a favorite place in Cairo which I will not tell about because it’s my secret place and I don’t want it to get crowded. I learned to enjoy my own company. I started reading about architecture and book publishing and tried editing, very briefly. I tried to make a magazine and failed miserably due to lack of content, and to be perfectly honest, lack of stamina. I was finally able to come up with a new plan of where I see my life going. Oh, I almost forgot, I also killed a man in a car accident.
Not bad for a year with a revolution going on, right? Wrong! Now I am 25 and it still flies over my head and I just don’t get it! To me, last year was somewhat pointless; or in technical terms, more like the rework done after messing up the last release of the software Dina, version 23! Not something to regret or feel bad about, as a lot of people have told me, I’m going through a quarter life crisis (with all the 25 and quarter of a century, anyone mentioning quarters even a quarter of a pound will probably hear words that should be censored my blog). So without further ado, you will finally read why 25 is so horrible…
At 25, I’m closer to 30. I’m starting to get wrinkles, and my maternal instincts kicked in. I can see that there is more to life than work and play. More importantly, there is more play to be played in life! The world is so much bigger than my house and my work, Maadi and all its venues, Cairo, and even Egypt! I don’t know how to work with people who see me as “the kid” because I’m not the kid, far from it, not to mention, I cannot tolerate people doubting my knowledge and experience because of some belief they have in their heads. I don’t accept advice as easily if it sounds patronizing. I cannot live in the same house and be treated by the same people in the same way that I used to be treated 5 years ago, or even 3 years ago. I have run out of room to grow because my world has all of a sudden become too small. Things that were important before, including ambition, do not seem as important now. Even though everyone seems to think that what I need is a marriage, I believe that what I need now is life BEFORE marriage; I need space to see the world from a more adult perspective as opposed to how I used to see it as a young adult; wide-eyed, and star-struck. I cannot take it that experiences seem to have diminished so much after they have been all over the place, just waiting to be collected. I can feel my priorities starting to shift into more responsible and more mature ideas, I am growing up, and I am growing old, and I am definitely not ready!

At 25, I should be seeing the world, learning new things, meeting new people. My experiences have to come from more than just books, but from my interactions with the world. At 25, I am at the prime of my youth; my mid 20’s, which I should be making use of as the best years of my life. It is those years that I will look back to when my purpose in life involves my children, not me. At 25, I should be learning the meaning of being an independent adult so that when I am finally 30, if I live that long, I would feel more secure about the decisions I will be making now that I would be older and wiser. It seems that growing old is like death; we all know it’s going to happen but we never prepare enough for it. I’m 25, and I want to be prepared to grow old.

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