Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Magic of 25

In the summer 2010 edition of Barnard Magazine, Barnard's alumnae publication, President Debora Spar writes about the recent reunion with an intriguingly insightful point of view. She writes, "what struck me the most...was that everyone still identified so strongly with their 25-year-old selves; the women they were before their lives took shape."

When my good friend recently returned engaged from her trip abroad, she spoke fondly of the future life she imagined with her fiancee. This life included eventually moving and living permanently overseas where she would build a career and raise her babies. It hit me then that this woman with whom I'd spent countless hours in dorm rooms, classrooms, libraries... The woman with whom I'd spent countless nights running the streets of new york city partying and days exploring... The woman with whom I'd plotted and planned to save Barnard from itself, only to then plot and plan to create a better world starting right here in Harlem, USA... She was not going to spend her future life with me at all. I realized that despite all our efforts to maintain our friendship our lives are on divergent paths, and we will make the world a better place, but not as next door neighbors with our children playing in each other's yards. Our friendship will be defined by our twenties and at some point down the road when she lives abroad and I am right here, we will remember and think of each other best at this moment in time.

President Spar writes of her own friend who she met in grad school "before we had our jobs, our babies, our homes... Before either of us had met the men who would eventually become our husbands." It is this time that she calls magical, when the whole world is open.

And I feel the magic, but it weighs on me heavily. The weight is of big dreams, with no road map to achieve them. God, how do I do what I love and make money enough to live? The weight is of uncertainty in relationships. Will the next man I meet be my husband? The weight is a gnawing sense of urgency, because I want to know the future. I'm dying to know what my reality will be 1 year from now, 5 years, 20 years...

It's funny how we spend our twenties; how we engage with the magic time trying to decipher our futures. I have a friend who has moved into an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond. She has become Deborah Barone on a trial basis (she and her significant other just moved in together - not married) to see if she wants to be with Ray and his intrusive mother forever. Another friend of mine, a month shy of 30, is itching to be settled in career and family life. She's recently resolved that if she sits still, as opposed to moving, chasing and grinding, that she might actually be able to put down some roots and create the life she wants to have.

Regardless of the choices we make now in our youth laying the foundation to further our adult lives, and whether the friendships of now carry on the way we would like, I imagine I will always remember this time in life and the people close to me now fondly.

Like President Spar, the friends I have made since I moved onto Barnard's campus in August 2003 will always be 18, 21, 25 to me. We will be "caught in that magical moment of time when nothing has quite yet happened, but everything is possible." Although we will have made defining choices in our lives, we will be forever young when we see each other. We will be able to remember and hold onto the magic of 25 and bring it with us into the present. Except hopefully the magic of twenty-something possibility will be freeing, not heavy at a time when more limits or responsibilities exist. It has to be possible.

5 comments:

Kelli With An I said...

Lovely post! Growing up is hard and the older I get, the further I move from my school friends. I don't call because the baby calls me 24-7. I don't hang out, my idea of fun time is baths with my child and a movie on the couch with his father. Cherish you and your friends time together because eventually, you two will be drifting on memories! :)

kelli

www.theblackcouple.com

jinglin' baby said...

i'm forever 21...a senior...partying monday thru saturday..brunch on sunday...boys left and right...tiny studio on 110th...and u are forever my friend...at 18....at 24...at 30..at 50...

ktc said...

Enjoyed this post. I am beginning to feel that drift as everyone moves away or moves on to that next stage. Something that's helped (or enabled the holding onto to memories of that magical age) is social media (Twitter and Facebook) and even gchat. Those tools are definitely allowing me to feel some of that closeness even as my friends move into those next stages of their lives. Oh, the joys of growing....

Sydnie said...

@kelli: I feel simultaneously lucky and jealous of ur situation. Lucky because I've still got time and relative freedom to do whatever I want, whenever I want, with whom ever I want. Jealous because part of me wants to be settled, or at least know what that settled situation might look like.

@jinglin baby: *sigh* I miss you.

@ktc: I agree social media helps us all stay in touch. I've stayed in touch with people I wouldn't have imagined just by following them on twitter. Its comforting to carry folks with you on your phone and computer, all over the place. Lol

Courtney said...

I agree with Vanessa. I love the post, because it's a real fear, but it doesn't have to be that way. I may move back to Senegal, but there will be trips back and forth (and that includes you visiting and your kids being sent to auntie Courtney...). Believe me, I know from a lifetime of travel and a serious long distance relationship now, that you will maintain the bonds you want to keep. Like any long-term relationship, it will take commitment, effort, patience, and flexibility to maintain - but what we have is so worth it.

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