Adam Ornelas takes stock of his first quarter century. Despite setbacks in love and work, what he finds is inspiration to be the best man he can be.
Who I am at 25.
February 8th, 2014 is my 25th birthday.
Yeah, I’ve walked this earth a quarter of a century. I’m writing this as a letter to myself and for others finding themselves coming of the same age and perhaps with similar lessons learned, experiences had, and hopes for the future.
At times it feels like I’ve lived an eternity, and other times I am reminded at how far have yet to go. Life seems to be moving in slow motion and hyper speed at the same time. There are days where I feel completely in control of my life, and days when I don’t know which way is up. The “quarter-life crisis” is upon me.
Gone are the all-nighters that turned into early mornings, and all the spontaneous shenanigans conjured by late night libations. Hangovers are haunting and strike me with an unforgiving ferocity. My priorities have shifted and my perspective is constantly being stretched, twisted, and redefined through experiences I have and the people I meet.
I’ve learned that struggle can definitely be real. If you haven’t experienced it yet, you will – in your own way and with your own obstacles. The rationing of paychecks, the nearly unbearable hit to the ego of sending in resume after resume only to get rejected, or even worse – no reply at all. There are times that $50.00 can feel like $500.00 and has to be stretched to make every penny count. Then there’s the occasional self-inflicted psych outs where you become riddled with doubt and question every recent decision you’ve made and are currently making.
“Am I doing the right thing?”
“Am I where I’m supposed to be?”
“How come I can’t seem to win?”
I’ve had my ups and downs. My highs and my lows. I’ve had a great paying job, and been let go of in what seemed like a blink of an eye. But I am a firm believer that you can’t appreciate winning until you’ve experienced losing. The struggles have sharpened my sense of self and strengthened my resilience.
I’ve been lucky enough to fall in love. It was one of the greatest things to happen to me. It helped me understand what I bring to a relationship and what I need from my significant other. It showed me how empowered a man can feel with the right woman by his side, as a “teammate”. It made me want to be better. And even though that relationship is no more, the experience made me better, aware that something like that can exist, and appreciate the next relationship.
I’ve been blessed with amazing people around me, who support me, and teach me so much just by them being themselves. My friends come from different backgrounds, creeds, sexual orientations, ethnicities, and everything in between. I wouldn’t have it any other way. My family has stood behind me and backed me with love and support through thick and thin. I lucked out.
As I’ve matured, there are personality traits I’ve been able to tweak, strengthen, and even shed when necessary. But the one that has stayed strong throughout my life is my passionate curiosity. It’s almost childlike. I am intrigued by just about everything (except algebra) and have an unquenchable thirst to know more. I hope in my coming years, no matter what happens to me, good or bad, I never lose it.
So at 25, it’s become evident that even though I have experienced a lot and learned more, I’ve only just begun. There’s no time to dwell on what could’ve been, what I don’t have, or where that I may not be where I’d like to be professionally. Call it cliché, but everything happens for a reason. The lowest lows can be the best lessons; lessons needed for later use.
Do what you can with what you have and keep your vision fixated on your goals.
I don’t believe in the pursuit of perfection. Perfection is unattainable. Instead, I am working on “perfecting the pursuit”; weaving the knowledge from lessons learned into my everyday life and working on becoming the best man I can be.