24. When I was 18, I thought at 24 I would definitely feel like an adult. At 23 years and 360 days, I feel slightly more experienced, but have more ” wtf am I doing” moments than ever before.
For me, birthdays and New Years Eve stir up very similar emotions, but the birthday is a bit more antagonizing and bittersweet. It’s a moment of reflection where I tally up the gains and subtract the losses, where my mind flips through memories and archives them in the “Good Ol’ Days” folder. New Year Eve is a time to set goals, while birthdays are a time to make sense of the past 364 days.
After extensive research, a.k.a TED Talk binge watching, I’ve realized that I’m not the only one fumbling around in this twenty-something life with a foggy outlook on the next five years six months. One day this idea sounds exciting, then the next its causing anxiety-driven heart palpitations. Today is somewhere in between.
One thing I love/hate to do is choose a couple of defining moments from the year. 21 was a year living in Amsterdam and the various escapades that ensued. No need to go into too much detail… my family reads this after all. 22 was graduating from University, an epic bike ride from Virgina to Cali with some of the coolest people I’ve ever met (and will meet) in my life, followed by a brief stint in Thailand.. and consequently including Thai prison (thats another story entirely) .
So 23. After a brief cataloging of defining moments of the past year, I’ve come to the conclusion that this year has actually been one of the biggest years of personal growth. A year in what my parents like to call “the real world”, is free from distractions created by the pursuit of a formal education. It’s a world in which you define every step, at least of the things you have control over.
Last year around this time I was approached by my ambitious and adventurous friend, Kate. She asked if I wanted to join her for cycling in the south of France. I didn’t see it happening. I was broke, recovering and weary about traveling again after Thailand. However, next thing I know I’ve got a one way ticket to Europe and a job lined up to work as an Au Pair in Germany. I thought my family was going to disown me when I told them my plans. But they didn’t, and they are the only people that I could count on to make me smile on the toughest days. The past 9 months are history. Growth this year wasn’t a kind that was really definable in an epic adventure or particular moment like past years. I just… feel… different.
Last week I moved to Berlin to pursue a dream that isn’t quite clear yet, but my gut tells me this is where I’m supposed to be. My brain, thinks a bit more practically and reminds me that ‘Its ok to be happy, but I still need to get my shit together’. Life is a balancing act.
Points that may have been lost in my rambling:
1. Life isn’t short, life is long. Things can change in an instant. Use your time wisely. There’s so much beauty in the world, go find it.
2. Focus on setting your own milestones rather than have society impose their milestones on you.
3. Reminiscing is good, but don’t get lost in the past or feel like the time to act has passed. There’s always time. Like… now.
4. You are not the only one
Ok. Well, guess now is the time to thank all of the lovely people in my life and especially those that have shaped this past year of my life. You know who you are.