My friends and family always make July 2nd an exciting and special day for me. But this year, my anticipation was racked with melancholy in the days leading up to my birthday. I was struggling with the number 25, struggling with the knowledge of aging. I was sad to 'age-out' of the wide-eyed niche society labels as 18 - 24, which is even an option on most exercise equipment, and worried that my accomplishments seemed less impressive than they were when I was 24 and more expected of someone who is 25.
All of these anxieties stemmed directly from my fixation on societies perception of age and whether or not I had, by societies standards, reached my peak or if I was peaking momentarily.
After a saguaro cactus reaches 40, its peak growing period begins. Between the ages of 50 and 60, it will begin to produce its first flowers. The same is often true of women. Much of the cactus will spend its first decades sheltered beneath a nurse plant, coincidentally, we are more likely to find protection in trends or expectations in youth, but once a woman has grown beyond the desire for approval is when she truly blossoms. Indeed, age is just a number, nothing more, nothing less.