Feeling 24

Another year older, another year wiser. Last night I celebrated my 24th - a delicious evening full of old friends and older friends followed up with some good ol' southern boot scootin' boogie. It was a fun time, but as the clock struck midnight on the eleventh day of the eighth month of the year of the ox, I felt a strange mix of contentment and discontent.

Twenty-four feels nothing like I once imagined it as a little girl. When you are 8 years old, 24 is fun and exciting. It's living in NYC. It's painting your favorite wall of your new apartment red and covering it with your favorite photos. It's juggling a schedule full of editor meetings, lunch dates and happy hours. It's feeling hopeful about the next step. What it is not is this.

It's not sleeping in the same bed you slept in as that 8-year-old girl. It's not scrolling through sparse job listings. It's not watching your friends move up in the world while you still remain clueless.

Yet this - what 24 should not be - feels so real. Along with 24 comes a wisdom few understand. You are still new enough in the world to possess a fresh perspective, a longing for the adventurous life. But you've been here long enough to comprehend the harsh realities of everyday living - that economies suck, that people are disappointing, that life isn't the fairytale dreamworld that you once pictured (though there's still that possibility it could be).

As I approach another year as a 1985 baby, I am no longer worried that the next step I take is right or wrong. Though the unpredictability of the future can be unnerving at times, I relish in the scenic route of life, knowing that I have the strength to cross the next bridge, however long, narrow and wobbly it might be.

I wanted to find a poem to include here that would celebrate another year of life, but they all ended up sounding cliche and cheesy. Instead, here's some words from Hafiz, to all you 20-somethings who aren't where you once thought you would be:

As a myriad things and
Playing a game
Of tag

Has kissed you and said,
"You're it -

I mean you're Really IT!"

It does not matter
What you believe or feel

For something wonderful,

Major-league Wonderful
Is someday going



Photo courtesy Urban Spirit


Chelsea Talks Smack said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! May this be a brilliant year for you!

Emily said...

In exactly a month from yesterday, it will be the first anniversary of my 24th birthday. (I'm not admitting to the bigger number.) Hate to tell you this, but I'm not convinced it gets any better...I'll let you know if I figure out the secret of life sometime between now and then!

alison said...

I'm glad you had a good birthday, even if it's not quite what you thought a 24th birthday would be. And thanks for the poem, good things are on the way for you too!

Crys said...

Yay for a fun birthday celebration! I'm what, 28, now? Yup. I've come to grasp that no matter what age I'm becoming it never is what I expected and that I'm always feeling far to fresh and new to really know what it should feel like.

KBrock said...

Happy Birthday! And, umm, you were thinking about happy hours when you were 8? Did you think at 23 you'd be living a year in Cambodia? You'll move out and be all employed soon enough. Enjoy it!

Katherine said...

Happy Birthday!

RZ said...

I read this post nodding my head and sighing at the truths of it.
Happy birthday to you! Here's to staying strong and enjoying those breathtaking scenic routes.