I used to think there was something magical about turning 25. It seems so arbitrary, but it was as if one was suddenly transformed from prolonged adolescence to true adulthood. The locks are thrown off, you can do whatever you want, no one gives you crap about being “just a kid,” and no one laughs at you for stupid childish things anymore, too.
And when you turned 25, you were supposed to be a certain way. I mean, you had to be, right? People wouldn’t start treating you differently just because of a number. Maybe you had to walk a certain way, talk in a different tone. Perhaps it’s the way you dress.
That was when I still thought chronological age mattered, in a world where numbers seemed to dictate everything.
I realized I, personally, didn’t have to limit myself to a mere numbers game. Unlike video games, life doesn’t tell you that a random stranger you encounter is friend or foe, level 1 or level 100. My mental skill set wasn’t a talent tree, dictated by my “level” and how many talent points I was allowed to spend.
Thanks to the Internet and MUDs, I got to be a lot “older” than my chronological age. Hiding behind a computer screen, I was reduced to my personality and what I put forth on a webpage or chat room. Unless I said it outright, my “age” was anyone’s guess. Most pegged me for my early to mid-twenties.
I was, in actuality, 14 at the time.
What was my image of the ideal 25-year-old? I think it involved a spacious apartment in a bustling, energetic city; a dog; a car; an ambitious but manageable career. Oh, and there was something about going on an eating tour of Europe, too.
Not once did I ever imagine my life at 25 would involve this:
Or even this:
Being a grown-up isn’t quite what I thought it would be. I never thought I’d become good friends with people hundreds and thousands of miles away, even though I haven’t met them person-to-person yet. Heck, I play more video games now than I did as a kid, honestly.
As the lady with the dual crossbows above so eloquently put it, “You always have a choice.” Responsibilities and priorities are one thing. How you define your person and personality in the face of those responsibilities is another thing.
When I became a mother, I thought I would have to forsake all of my hobbies and even portions of my wardrobe because they didn’t fit the regular “mom” motif. Turns out, thanks to this wonderful gaming community, there are tons of parents out there who are doing the same thing I am: working, taking care of business, and gaming— among many other things that we do to make our lives run.
In any case, I’m 25 today. I’m a grown-up, and it’s up to me to define what that is. If that means running errands, playing a match or two on the ME3 multiplayer, and dancing in the kitchen with my 2-year-old to Portal 2 music, then that’s what it is.