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Turning a quarter of a century old comes with its own set of epiphanies and revelations. Like any other multiple of five, twenty-five rests in between two round numbers; two thresholds if you like – two generations.

But…

Given that the human lifespan is often less than 100, 25 comes with the epiphany that – scary as it may be – more than a quarter of your life has passed.

Is this sad? Kind of. Is this something to cry about? Definitely not. I love being twenty-five.

Standing splat in the middle between twenty and thirty, I realise just how far I’ve come and how far I have yet to go. This is the age where I can be whoever I want to be; it is the age where half my friends are engaged, married, mothers, or successful in their professions, while the other half are trying to get their bearings, furthering their studies, unsure of what career moves to make, and gallivanting all over the globe. It is the age of possibility. It is the age of being.

Reflecting on my life so far, I realise that my vision of twenty-five ten years ago looked nothing like my present reality. I have not yet started a PhD. I am not yet a published author. I have no kids. I do not own a house. And I still don’t have my own cat.

But I have so much more.

My life has been a beautiful maze of roses and thorns. The thorns have been obstacles which have made me grow in so many different ways and the roses have made the road smell that much sweeter. It is because of both that I am who I am today.

My life is blessed with wonderful experiences and lessons learned. I have seen so many different places and tasted so many different types of food, and there is still so much to see and taste. I have read so many novels, striking poems, heart-wrenching plays, and – let’s face it – Thought Catalog posts (we’re all guilty of that); and yet there is still so much to read.

My career is an open horizon; I can venture whichever way the wind might take me, but right now I am settled in this job that – although not permanent – fulfils me and makes me feel like I am a part of something greater than myself. I also form part of a great team; they make nine-hour days feel so much shorter. Thanks guys, for all the laughs. (And cakes and stuff ) I have also achieved so much academically, and my heart is still open to more. I can’t wait to write something bigger; something better – to further my knowledge and keep exercising my brain.

I am surrounded by people who love me. My circle is small, but I love how its size makes everyone so easy to reach. I can count my close friends on my fingers, but we have forged bonds that are hard to break now. I am blessed with a family that loves me and that has passed on to me principles together with the freedom and perspective to reinterpret them.

I live with a person who loves me exactly for who I am, and who has the most beautiful heart I’ve had the chance to encounter; we share our relationship as we share our lives – completely, and it feels wonderful to be in his presence; our love gives me so much joy.

Reflecting on my blessings, I stop and realise I have failed to mention one; myself. Being twenty-five is wonderful, because I know just who I am – enough to know that I will never be the same person I am today; I am an evolving chameleon of quirks and flaws which I am happy to call mine. And I am thankful that I am at a place where I appreciate myself for all that I am, which is – let’s face it – a pretty hilarious cat.

And then there are my words. I love my words; I love my outlet. Writing is a great part of who I am – throughout these twenty-five years, my writing has shaped me, and I wouldn’t be me without it.

So here’s to another twenty-five years of love, laughter, experiences and words.

Happy birthday, Jess – from Jess.

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