SHEENA BARNETT: Freedom comes with aging



I follow too many teenagers on social media – something one must do with caution, truly.

I’ve seen some posts floating about the Internet that say, “I don’t ever want to be a person over 25.”

As a person five years past 25, I can’t help but feel the urge to pat these little sweet things on the head. Gosh, aren’t they cute.

They haven’t learned, just yet, that it gets better after 25.

Sure, you have to be adult: pay bills, save money, not spend money on frivolous things so you can afford to pay bills, that sort of thing.

There’s also work and taking care of yourself, and may the gods above help you if you decide to unlock the ultimate Adulting Badge: getting married and having kids. The good thing is, that’s totally your choice, so you can put that off and enjoy your freedom as long as you want.

Speaking of freedom, that’s exactly what being an adult is about. You may be under boss’ orders for 40 hours a week, but the rest of that time, theoretically, is yours.

You’re free from everything – passé high school ideas of what’s cool or acceptable, having to live up to anyone else’s standards, that sort of thing.

When you’re in high school, it seems like the whole world runs on one consistent standard of awesome. What’s considered awesome with everyone around you is, naturally, awesome everywhere else, right? Nope.

The trends and magazines may dictate certain styles, but at a certain age (it’s been 30 for me, for sure), you just decide you’re going to wear, like and listen to what you please. You stop worrying about what everyone else is into, and you dig what you dig.

And it’s so freeing.

Everyone else who’s stopped caring what everyone else thinks, or who’s stopped trying to keep up with the Joneses, has figured this out, too, and you realize everyone has their own standards.

But, then again, being more than a quarter-century old does have its scary moments, especially when you realize you’re still just as clueless about life as ever. All that school, all the work, all the experiences you’ve had and the mistakes-turned-lessons mean nothing when life wants to kick you when you’re down.

But that’s what keeps us all grounded. We’re all secretly terrified, but we think we look cool doing it.

Give me scared but cool at 25 rather than scared and stuck in math class at 15 any day.

Contact staff writer Sheena Barnett at

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    Said like a true 30 year old. At 15, even at 30, I really didn’t appreciate the ‘freedom’ I had to spend the time enriching myself as an individual. At 50, I yearn for the minutes to simply stop and smell the roses: have a real vacation away from my cell phone, email, anything associated with the stresses of work and the increasing concerns about a secure retirement.

    Tell your teenage friends, math class will end – but learn every morsel they can while they have the chance and the time to work only on themselves: be themselves: and grow as an individual. .