What the fuck is a prime anyway?

Today is my 25th birthday and while I relish in any excuse to eat cake and ice-cream, I have to admit that I’ve been dreading entering my awkward and unstable mid-20s. I recently confided my anxiety to my mom and, true to motherly form, she’s taken up the habit of reminding me that I’m “in the prime of my life” every chance she gets! While I appreciate my mother’s optimism, her reassuring words have done little to actually curb what I’ve christened as my “quarter life crisis.” After all, what the fuck is a prime anyway?

If 25 is traditionally considered the prime of our lives, the heavy media coverage of the great millennial delay (Exhibit A, Exhibit B, Exhibit C…I can probably go on for days) has flushed that idea down the generational toilet.

According to the NY Times, compared to their baby boomer predecessors, today’s 25-year-olds are “twice as likely to still be students, only half as likely to be married and 50 percent more likely to be receiving financial assistance from their parents.”

So, there you have it. If we can’t seem to graduate,  commit ourselves to marriage or pay or our own bills by the age of 25, it makes perfect sense that we reach our “prime” sometime later in life.  In the age of real life toys”R”us kids, 25 couldn’t possibly be the pinnacle of our adult lives. Right?! At the behest of a friend, I searched for the answers to my existential crisis in Meg Jay’s highly recommended “The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter –And How To Make The Most Of Them.” Big mistake. I got through the introduction of Jay’s ceaseless assertion that we grow up sooner rather than later before my anxiety kicked in and I subsequently kicked “The Defining Decade”  to the curb.  Jay’s insistence that our 20s are a time where the things we do (or don’t do) stay with us forever absolutely terrified me and so, feeling more anxious than ever,  I set out in search of a sign that my lack of enthusiasm about my mid-20s wasn’t a symptom of  some mental defect, but entirely natural. I never quite found what I was looking for (or at least not through my Google search) and now that my 25th birthday has inevitably arrived, I suppose I’ll just have to take it all in stride. The truth is – I really don’t have a choice in the matter so, for now, I’ll assume that my mom was right. My anxiety will pass and everything will pan out…eventually. I am, in fact, in the prime of my life.

Photo by Will Clayton/CC BY 2.0

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