The round birthdays are allegedly the hardest. 20 was a big birthday for me. I realized that I had to quit being a kid. 25 two months ago was a big birthday for me as well. Instead of being in a crazy time in my life (college) I am out in the real world in a career track job in the midwest. Is this it? Is this going to be the rest of my life?
This might sound a little ridiculous, but I know of a number of people that have similar stories. I formed many ideas of what I want in my life at a young age. I naively though in middle school that I would get a full scholarship to college, get a masters degree, travel abroad, meet the girl of my dreams, get married around 24-25, then have kids a few years later. Didn't quite happen that way, which is probably for the better. Yet, 25 years is the kind of milestone that brings up all these memories about how I wanted things to happen when I was younger.
Post-college meeting people is not quite as easy as it was in high school or college. Instead of spending 7-10 hours a day with people within a few years of my age all of by sudden ("all of by sudden..." - Gatsonis, it's a classic quote at WPI) I am in a cubicle with only a few other people who rarely talk and have already established social lives.
This becomes significant because the question comes up "what do people do for fun or in the evenings?" I have asked that question to people from all over the country and the answer is usually the same: watch tv, go to someone's house, surf the Internet. In other words, pretty simple entertainment. Most of the time, not having a blossoming social life is not a problem for me because by the time I go to work, go running and get home to eat, shower, and relax for the night it is 7 or 8 PM and I'm usually in bed around 10 to 11. That's only a few hours of time that I actually have every day to spend with non-engineers and non-runners. Still, it can be a little lonely. Quite the conundrum, I don't have much time to spend on a significant other but I feel it is one of the bigger things missing from my life right now.
Another kind of funny thing that I do now, that I started doing around a year ago, but living in rural areas the last half year I do much more often, is check for a ring when I meet women. It is surprising how often I see women that look my age or younger and have a ring on.
Another event, is something that I find funny, and I will probably get a nasty email or comment for saying something about it, but I'm going to say it anyway. Flirting with younger women is easy. All I have to do is look a woman in the eyes and smile and her whole demeanor changes. Yeah, I'm pretty inexperienced at the whole dating realm so I'm not entirely sure what to do after that, but the point is when I do that with women my age or older I get just about no reaction. It's not that I'm targeting college age women, but it just seems easier. Maybe they expect less. I don't know. It is strange because I have never felt challenged intellectually by younger people, until somewhat recently. I like it when people make me think. I cannot have a relationship that is intellectually one-sided. Inevitably there would be something else that I would miss out on.
I know quite a few people in their 30s and upper 20s that are single, many whom I would consider my better friends. I suppose that in the grand scheme of things, not having a significant other in my life right now is probably a good thing as I am so self-centered with my running and enjoy mountaineering, which is not the safest sport in the world. I certainly don't want to leave a couple of toddlers and wife to pick up the pieces after I die on a mountain in Asia or something.
So that is where I am. A little lonely in the evenings, but fairly self-centered the rest of the time. It's the biggest thing I feel is missing from my life at this stage, and I am afraid that weeks become years and the next thing you know I'm too old to have kids. Having never really had a serious relationship I am afraid that my inexperience will hinder me as time goes on and women expect more and more from the men they date.
There, now I've said it. Now I can forget about it and worry about my training schedule. Don't worry I just had to get this off my chest and now you won't hear me whine about it for a few years.