Turning 26 in France means losing all sorts of young-person privileges, like cheaper museum tickets, cheaper bus passes, and of course, the 12-25 reduction on trains. That is, if you don’t just go and buy one the day before you turn 26 (or three days before in my case). But still there’s the knowledge that this is the last one ever, and in a year, I will be paying full price for trains (read: doing covoiturage and buying prem’s).
It’s like an announcement coming from all directions that you’re supposed to have succeeded at this point in your life and not be asking for help.
When I arrived in France at 22 I thought I was buying my first and only 12-25 card. Even when I left two years ago at 24, it didn’t really seem likely that I would be back in France long enough to buy my last one. Twenty-six was so far off.