The Age of 24
Today is my birthday. Today is the end of 23 and the start of 24. I could argue that I’m still in my early twenties, but I’m definitely in the sweet spot of the mid-twenties now. Oddly enough, 24 doesn’t feel old in comparison to turning 23. My perception of old and young is constantly shifting - for better or for worse.
23 was a weird ass year. There was good, bad, ugly, and strange. To cope with the insanity associated with this year in life, Leigha, Soleil, and I would assert “THIS IS 23” as if that was a justification. Everything that happened at 23 felt like this was only happening to me and no one else really knew how I felt (which is ridiculous) yet it’s the ubiquitous mindset of a young adult. In essence, year 23 was marked by traveling (I’m on my go-somewhere-at-least-once-a-month-bullshit and don’t really plan on stopping), changing my job, obsessing over my one second video, purchasing a new car, and hosting a slew of random parties.
Some of the things I did are absolutely ridiculous and I look back and think, “why did I think THAT would be a good idea?”. I was on a regular cycle of traveling to Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Colorado, a rotation I completed on four separate occasions. I’d say I’m well acquainted with each locale at this point. I and my friend group truly embraced the love of White Claws, the spiked seltzer you never knew you needed. They also get you pretty quick, learned that the hard way in Las Vegas when I was wasting money at the slots. I somehow became engrossed in the Deadliest Catch. Yes, that show about crab-fishing, no I do not know how that happened. The peak of this ludicrous obsession was reached when I screamed at the sight of the Cornelia Marie in Lake Union. I will admit, not my finest moment, you can ask Gina all about it. For some odd reason, my roommates and I went into overdrive party planning mode and hosted parties and friends for various events, all with the goal of ridding ourselves of surpluses of wine. All I can really say is, each party made for some good stories. Fortunately, I spent the most time with my immediate and extended family in this past year of life. I was able to make it home for Thanksgiving and Christmas, went to the east coast to see both sets of grandparents, and spent a good chunk of time goofing off with aunts and uncles. In the month of March, I spent half the month with Gina and Mom alone - that hasn’t happened since I left for college. Talk about quality time. And of course, I learned a slew of new things, like how to shuck an oyster.
Also in the highlight reel is running a half marathon, traveling to Japan with some of my best friends, finally maintaining nice skin (!!!), and wasting so much money on film photos to immortalize candid moments.
It wasn’t all fine and dandy as the prior paragraph depicts. In fact, it was quite emotional. I started going back to counseling. That’s uncomf-y, but necessary and good. A friend framed it as “working on yourself” which I liked and “trying to grow and improve” which is equally as good. There’s still a stigma, but more people should talk about it. For some reason, I still have a hard time talking about it. But that’s getting better.
I realized I was far too concerned with certain aspects of myself, what people say and think of me, and how fragile I felt. I started to lose interest in a lot of things I loved. I started to not feel not so great. I started to cry, a lot. I decided that I didn’t want to feel sad.
Some days are hard to get out of bed and get going and other days you don’t understand how any of this could be happening. But It’s all there. Going to counseling provides an outside perspective and tools to use to mitigate situations. It’s not perfect, but it’s a start.
I dealt with disappoint, mostly brought on by my own expectations. Making new friends is hard. Accepting that you’re not a priority to some people is hard. Seeing how long you spent on your phone and realizing your codependency is hard (not to mention embarrassing). Fears of abandonment and failure were realized and cemented into my brain. Even fear of writing here on this blog because I didn’t think I’d write anything worth reading. I’m working on undoing all of that. It’s all a work in progress.
What I did learn, and I’ve probably said these elsewhere, but here they are again, are a multitude of values solidified by various experiences in my 23rd year.
Reminding people how proud of them you are - because no one says it enough, or even at all
Spending time with people because time is the most valuable, intangible item we have
Recognizing the ones that show up for you - consistently and against all odds, they’re the ones that truly matter
Supporting the people you love - I never truly appreciated my family and what their support means to me, but as I’ve gotten older I now do. Even if it’s just little things like birthday cards and group messages, I am very lucky to have the relationships I do with my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins. Sometimes too inquisitive about certain matters, but always curious and eager to listen to what I’m up to. A lot of people don’t have that. I love having it.
Being grateful and expressing it more
Seeking discomfort - good things happen outside the comfort zone or you’ll at least get a funny story
24 sounds like you have your shit together even though you probably don’t, but you’re getting there. Last year, I did a recap of my favorite things in true Julie Andrews fashion, and as I read through them, I reminisced and cringed (emphasis on the latter). There is absolutely no force on earth that can make me recreate that laundry list, so I’ve selected the few notable ones.
Albums/Music: Assume Form by James Blake, Heard It In a Past Life by Maggie Rogers, and Golden Hour by Kacey Musgraves have been on heavy rotation - though Vampire Weekend ended their six year hiatus with Father of the Bride and that’s a new contender; honorable mention for music includes Lizzo, the 1975, and SG LEWIS
Breakfast: I honestly don’t even know why I have this question, but breakfast frittata
Clothing: again what kind of question is this, but anything Madewell
Bar: King’s Hardware
Dessert: Frankie & Jo’s (le duh)
24 seems interesting. People are making big moves towards higher education, marriage, or physically across the nation and world. As for me, as cliche as it sounds, I’m aiming to focus on myself. This means staying away from social media more often and spending less time on my phone, because comparison is the thief of joy. It means detaching from the expectation I have and letting it all play out as it may. More self-reliance since others aren’t too dependable and acceptance of me making a plan if I want to make something happen. That’s just how it’s gotta be!
There will be more of diving into trying to be comfortable on my own, observing my actions, increasing self-awareness, volunteering at the Center for Wooden Boats, figuring out how I can make art, science, and creativity intersect, and floating a river because 2019 is a floating year dammit. Above all, the most important sentiment I’m embracing is doing things for myself because they make me feel good.
There’s so much time, yet so much to do all at once. I have so many interests with no clear direction, and time keeps going (obviously this whole idea is a constant source of anxiety for me).
Still, we’re ALL just trying to figure it out. A lot can happen in a year, and I’m excited to see what 24 brings.
I bid adieu to 23 and welcome 24.