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The Magic of 25

This essay originally appeared on Sydnie Mosley’s blog, lovestutter.blogspot.com, on August 4, 2010.

In the summer 2010 edition of Barnard Magazine, President Debora Spar writes about the recent reunion with an intriguingly insightful point of view. She writes, “What struck me the most ... was that everyone still identified so strongly with their 25-year-old selves; the women they were before their lives took shape.” When my good friend recently returned engaged from her trip abroad, she spoke fondly of the future life she imagined with her fiancée. This life included eventually moving and living permanently overseas where she would build a career and raise her babies. It hit me then that this woman with whom I’d spent countless hours in dorm rooms, classrooms, libraries... The woman with whom I’d spent countless nights running the streets of New York City partying and days exploring... The woman with whom I’d plotted and planned to save Barnard from itself, only to then plot and plan to create a better world starting right here in Harlem, USA... She was not going to spend her future life with me at all. I realized that despite all our efforts to maintain our friendship, our lives are on divergent paths, and we will make the world a better place, but not as next-door neighbors with our children playing in each other’s yards. Our friendship will be defined by our 20s and at some point down the road when she lives abroad and I am right here, we will remember and think of each other best at this moment in time.

President Spar writes of her own friend whom she met in grad school “before we had our jobs, our babies, our homes.... Before either of us had met the men who would eventually become our husbands.” It is this time that she calls magical, when the whole world is open.

And I feel the magic, but it weighs on me heavily. The weight is of big dreams, with no road map to achieve them. God, how do I do what I love and make money enough to live? The weight is of uncertainty in relationships. Will the next man I meet be my husband? The weight is a gnawing sense of urgency, because I want to know the future. I’m dying to know what my reality will be one year from now, five years, 20 years...

It’s funny how we spend our 20s; how we engage with the magic time trying to decipher our futures. I have a friend who has moved into an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond. She has become Debra Barone on a trial basis (she and her significant other just moved in together—not married) to see if she wants to be with Ray and his intrusive mother forever. Another friend of mine, a month shy of 30, is itching to be settled in career and family life. She’s recently resolved that if she sits still, as opposed to moving, chasing and grinding, that she might actually be able to put down some roots and create the life she wants to have.

Regardless of the choices we make now in our youth, laying the foundation to further our adult lives, and whether the friendships of now carry on the way we would like, I imagine I will always remember this time in life and the people close to me now fondly.

Like President Spar, the friends I have made since I moved onto Barnard’s campus in August 2003 will always be 18, 21, 25 to me. We will be “caught in that magical moment of time when nothing has quite yet happened, but everything is possible.” Although we will have made defining choices in our lives, we will be forever young when we see each other. We will be able to remember and hold onto the magic of 25 and bring it with us into the present. But I hope the magic of 20-something potential will be freeing, not heavy at a time when more limits or responsibilities exist. It has to be possible.

-by Sydnie Mosley '07, illustration by Jennifer Lew