3 years ago, I was 25 and was on my 5th year of traveling the world. Yeah, I was in another place all the time, hopping from one continent to another but I wasn’t completely convinced that I was okay with it. Everyone thought I already found my way but I didn’t. Although I was away from the usual drama from home, I still had a lot of questions about life that travel couldn’t answer. Don’t get me wrong — I wasn’t depressed while on the road. It was just too overwhelming that I got to do that in my 20’s. Somehow, something is still not right.
I don’t know why 25 is always important when it comes to life but I learned from my life coach (yes, I am seeing a life coach and you should, too) told me that 25 is the last year of being a child. Adult age starts at 26 so if your age is below it, you are just like everyone who are struggling thinking they are already old.
I would be a b*tch if I compare my life to the other 25-year olds out there because mine (and everything of ours) is completely distinct. But for a long time, I received messages from readers and my friends who always told me: “I am jealous of your life. You are completely free and happy.”
But they weren’t right. At 24, I thought I survived a horrible break up — the one that tore my heart into 30,000 pieces but I wasn’t over it until I was 25. Which led me to lose my faith not just in love, but everything. Although I was completely okay with what and who I am, there are some things from my past that lack closure — that I did not confront because I thought I was living the life I imagined. It was like a selective amnesia.
I struggled just like other 25-year olds who weren’t sure of who they are. Kids who think they are cool and do drugs; students who transferred from one University to another at the same time shifted 3-4 courses because they couldn’t figure out what they wanted in life; youngsters who have this imagination in their head about the ‘better’ version of themselves. Versions of themselves that they keep announcing to the world just because it sounds true when you say it out loud. And when you are saying out loud, it becomes a habit that it turns into something you think that is true.
I was a part of that gang but my struggles were different — it was about having faith.
For a long time, I refused to say yes to every man who will ask me to go out or share a beer. In Peru, I worked in a bar and interacted with a lof of backpackers from all over the world: either wanting to get laid or just wants to show the world they can easily pick up any woman they like. Every night, someone will approach me and start a flirty conversation that I didn’t buy. I got so pissed I went to the shopping mall one day and bought a deterrent ring. Yes, a fake ring that screamed “I am married.”
Nice boys came and go. Nice boys that I misjudged of wanting to get in my pants. Nice men who I refer to as ‘boys’ because I believe it semantically takes power away from them. I always found a reason to not talk to almost 50% of them because I already knew how to read a boy. But I have balance: I also have the gift of knowing the best friend boy type. I have a handful of them, too. Best friend boys who always ask you to pick up a woman for them. Kind of a wingwoman. I was that woman.
The day came that I hurt someone and that someone was my best friend who I always loved no matter what. I moved in with him in Brasil which was a really bad idea in the first place. Was I out of my mind? I was traveling and I know I will get tired of Brasil sooner or later. Why did I engage myself in that kind of situation?
It started fine. Everything was fine. I was kind of a tomboy and his friends really liked that I can easily make friends with boys but can also ignore you if you are being a d*ck. It was hard for me to ignore that but I learned how to actually live with a boy (again) and just not care about anything. It was challenging. All I cared about was winning against a boy and then I had to repress that feeling. Then the boyfriend got used to it: he became the macho that he is.
One day, I woke up wild, I got tired of it and exploded: packed my bags, didn’t say anything and left.
I was still not over my previous break up no matter how much I convinced myself that I was. There was no freaking way I wanted to get back with him. I just had abandonment issues from him that I thought every boy would do the same. My faith in love and relationships was eternal sunshined away.
For the second time in years, I prayed to God: First, I am sorry if I am only calling whenever I am in need. Second, please help me. I feel alone and confused. Amen.
I went to trek to Machu Picchu. I walked for 4 days to clear my head, step back and think. In reality, my group could’ve done it for 3 days but there was an old couple who were with us so you know what happened. I was close to the old couple because I was curious why the heck would they walk for days when they can just sit on their couch and sew sweaters for their grandchildren? Nope. They’re not the old couple that you think who worked to save money for as long as they could then travel the world. They were in their 70’s and just started dating each other. They just met and they wanted to do some crazy stuff before getting married!
From then on, my faith in love and God came back. Even just a little. I realised I should not be worried about being 25 because life resets every day. It happens and there is nothing that we can do but ride with it. We will experience different chapters in life and who knows: maybe at 40 I decide to be a lesbian? Maybe at 30, I want to be pregnant? Maybe at 52, I will still be traveling the world? Maybe at 60, I will go back to school? Or maybe at 72, I will attend my 4th wedding? I was 25 and lost and I realised that it was okay. The old couple made me feel it was just fine.
No matter what age we are in, we will always experience difficulties in life because it’s made like that. But remember, there will be glory days, too.
Now, I am almost 28, back home from traveling and still don’t know where I am going. But I know it’s not going to be boring! (All hail David Bowie!) Whenever people ask, “where are you going next?” I will always counter attack with “let’s talk about you” and they liked it. At one point, I became the person they are comfortable with because they have knowledge that I am just embracing life and now okay with who I am. Some friends my age have kids now. But they never attacked me with “When will you have kids? We’re getting old.” They already know how I understand and see life.
We may have aged physically but if you embrace life, your soul will always be young.
I leave you with the “life is short” sermon: So don’t waste it. Do what you want. Be a child for a day. Be a person full of love. Live like every day is the first day of your life. Choose your battles. Enjoy silence. Learn how to keep quiet. Accept defeat. Learn to forgive. Have a little faith. Even just a little. And I promise you, we will all come out alive.
Cover Photo ©: World Cup 2014 opening in a bar in Bolivia, Brasil