I know, I know. I know. It’s almost comical how stereotypically Jorge of me it is to set a post schedule and then immediately ignore it. But hey, cut me some slack. I was too busy being born.
Twenty five years and one day ago I was thrust into this world; a screaming, thoroughly confused, sticky mess of a human being whose face was comprised almost entirely of a giant, unsightly nose. I was born a tad earlier than expected and was smaller than ideal, which you wouldn’t imagine from seeing some of my mom’s maternity pictures. I swear, she had one of the largest and most arduous-looking pregnancy bellies I’ve ever seen, anywhere. Like a late-eighties octomom. It looked like she was carrying an entire comedy troupe. Instead, all that came out was underweight and undercooked little me.
Twenty five years and one day later, here I am: a less sticky but still thoroughly confused young man. In many ways, I’ve spent the entirety of my life overcompensating for the fact that I was born into shortcomings. Underweight and flimsy? Fine. I’ll become this ballooning behemoth of a human being obstructing the view of those unfortunate enough to stand behind me at a concert. Ugly baby? Not a problem, I’ll develop my social skills to the point where I can somehow charm my way into way-above-my-league ladies’ pants using nothing but words, false bravado and a knowing wink of the eye, looks be damned. Less than stellar grasp on some of the life skills that should come naturally to everybody? I’ll just become an expert on a few insular, unimportant topics to create the illusion of keep-it-togetherness, all the while doing a bang-up job of concealing the fact that life’s got the edge on me in many more ways than I’ll ever admit.
For the longest time, I dreaded the age 25. I kept thinking that there’s a certain gravity the number, a dourness, a seriousness that’s not there in everything leading up to it. It’s the birthday where, all of a sudden, you’re really, honestly, for real this time, an adult. Society creates these benchmarks that are supposed to be signs of true independent adulthood; 16, 18, 21, but honestly, I’ve never felt like a real grown-up. Not after living on my own for the last six years, not after finishing school, not as I’m getting ready to make a movie, not after I’ve reached any arbitrary number of landmarks that are supposed to mark my victorious progression into adulthood. I still feel like that frightened, screaming, sticky newborn, completely at odds with the world around him.
But at 25, suddenly, it feels like you’re less justified in taking pleasure in the childish, silly things that make you impishly happy in ways no Excel spreadsheet, no Starbucks frapuccino ever could. The silliness that you carry with you from your early twenties stops being warmly endearing (if it ever was) and becomes absurdly obnoxious the very moment you realize that shit… 30 is 5 years away. 40 is 15 years away. You’re no longer in your early twenties, you’re decidedly in the mids. Mids are the worst, lacking mystery or completion. Something’s ongoing, something’s already underway, someone’s in the midst of something. Meanwhile, I’m standing by the sidelines wondering why the fuck nobody told me the game had begun.
The truth of the matter is that all of the silly insecurities and hang-ups that I have about the age are based entirely on external regard– on other people’s notions of what one should or should not do at a certain age. Not only that, but those are themselves viewed through my own prism of neurosis and self-consciousness. So what I end up with is a magnification of a magnification of an unrealistic, stringent, unforgiving view of who I should be at this age that is never going to line up with reality, ever. Because there is no set standard. There are no rules and regulations. There is no set schedule for when things are supposed to happen, they just do.
And it’s when you let go of all that bullshit that you’re able to breathe a sigh of relief, and you can take a hard look at your life and realize just how well you’ve done. My birthday was all about this little epiphanic moment. I looked at my friends and saw a loyal group of wonderful people who love me and are there for me and somehow endure my ridiculous sense of humor, my penchant for theatrics, my wild mood swings. I see my family and how well I get along with all of them, how I’ve managed to fix the relationships that felt broken, how we’ve matured into our current selves. I take a look at my professional aspirations and how I’ve made my name in an industry I had no prior knowledge or experience in, how I’ve been writing more than ever, how I’m bringing projects to fruition and moving forward with my dreams. How I haven’t allowed myself to be eaten alive by dour self-seriousness. How I have not surrendered even a little bit of the childlike wonder at moments of magical mundanities. How I’m constantly amazed, and amused, and confused.
Age 25 finds me at a moment in my life where I have a tremendous amount of things going on, more than I’ve ever had. I’m also building new bridges, meeting new people and figuring myself out in the process. I am incredibly lucky, and thankful, and proud. And to wrap up this gross display of self-congratulatory gaucheness, here’s my favorite picture from the batch that my grandmother dug up for my birthday and proceeded to post all over Facebook:
Thanks for reading, peeps. And check back tomorrow for another update. I promise I’m going to force myself into a schedule, even if it kills me. I need the self-discipline. After all, I’m a grown-up now.
Here’s the awesome track “25” by Bomb the Music Industry!. A little on-the-nose, I realize, but hey.