Emily Rice

Emily Rice is the Features Editor of the Bluefield Daily Telegraph and the Associate Editor of Prerogative Magazine.

Well, my faithful readers, this is my last column to you as a 24-year-old (not my last column ever). My birthday has snuck up on me, as it has since adulthood set in and I became far too busy to countdown to it.

I spend a lot of time overwhelmed by the goals I have set for myself. Now, if that is not a whole bunch of “my own fault,” I have no idea what it is. I suppose in between the “Friends,” “How I met your mother” and “Seinfeld” binge watches as a teenager, I forgot to notice their ages. I assumed they were about 20 (wow, so old) and had the beginnings of their careers at that young age and so should I. What I failed to notice until I re-watched some of these shows as an adult is that most of them are about 24-27 at the beginning of the show and I have so much more figured out than they do.

There is something that my mom tells me when I call crying about being single, lonely or frustrated about a menagerie of other things at my age, “Emily, remember these parts on Friends? It just isn’t funny in real life. It doesn’t get wrapped up into a pretty little bow at the end of a half hour.”

This advice has stuck with me and I have pointed out that fact to many of my friends when they say similar things to, “I just thought that I would be further by now.”

I think this is a symptom of our generation. We are in this weird time-gap where the expectation of getting married early is wearing away at the same time we are expected to, first of all, know what we want to do with our lives at eighteen years old, and second of all, have pursued it tirelessly and still be happy by about 25.

I will not continue complaining about the plight of my generation, no one, least of all me, wants to hear more about “the millennial crisis” and I am certainly not having a crisis.

I had a crisis when I turned 23. I got my only impulsive tattoo, cut off all my hair and dyed it all the colors of the rainbow in the summer following my 23rd birthday. However, as I face turning 25, I feel a sense of calm and reflection.

First of all, I am actually mad at myself for being mad at myself over a lot of things. Namely, my career. I suppose with all of the job changes, it has felt a bit chaotic and at times, like I am just going in circles. Thankfully, in the last year, I landed at The Bluefield Daily Telegraph and was quickly promoted to Features Editor, the job that I had been dreaming of for a while.

While I have a lot of responsibility, I have a great job. I get to write in-depth stories about happy things like people getting awards, book publishing, museum openings, etc. I also get to write about things that, while they might not be so happy, are important.

In addition, I have the privilege to be the Associate Editor of Prerogative Magazine, the women’s magazine that the Bluefield Daily Telegraph publishes. This job allows me to use most of my training from college. I am able to interview and write the stories, sometimes photograph them and lay the magazine out as a graphic designer. To see the finished product is something that brings tears to my eyes.

At 25, I have done a decent amount of traveling, far more than I could have imagined when I was a teenager. I have a good place to live, with my dog companion of eleven years. I have friends here and while I may not have accomplished some of the more arbitrary things on my list (learning to cook, yoga teacher certification, own my own car, etc.), the place I am mentally is worth more than all of that.

On my 25th birthday, I am grateful. Grateful for where I am in life and the things I have fought to make my place in this world. No quarter-life crisis here, just thankful.