Well, I’d say this post is fairly self-explanatory. I turned twenty-four last Friday. Twenty-four. It may not sound like a very big number to you, but I’m just going to put it out there and say that I am one of those youngsters who is constantly spooked with how quickly time passes. Yup, it’s me: the barely aged, cynical youth that everyone loves to hate. I would say that my fear of aging is a sad secret I try to keep hidden, but I’m not so good at that; I gripe, I complain, I annoy even myself. I would love to dance into my birthday with the same vigour, enthusiasm, and lose morals as I did at nineteen and twenty, but alas those days are long gone. Now instead of crying because someone spilled a drink on me at the bar, effectively ruining my brazen birthday-buzz, this year I had a meltdown at nine in the morning over a bowl of oatmeal.
It’s all very dramatic, I know, and I feel silly even broaching the subject, but it’s something I’m sure a lot of people in their early twenties go through. We’ve all tried to imagine what we’d be like in five, ten, fifteen years, and for me, a birthday is a reminder that my future may not turn out the way I always imagined it would—not necessarily bad or good, just not what I hoped. Facing reality can be a bit shocking, and while I do love the freedom that adulthood affords me, sometimes I miss how easily I could screw up and bounce back when I was eighteen; you know, like accidentally forgetting to put oil in my car for two years, or going after the guy at the Halloween party dressed as a beer keg. Now, everything feels more permanent, like the stakes are higher, and the pressure to get my shit together is very real. Compounded with the fact that I’ve got a full-blown patch of grey hair sprouting from the top of my head, and I’ve gone straight kooky.
I want to be clear: I know that I am young, and that there will be plenty more years worth of screw ups in my future. I’m sure my twenties are only the beginning of what is sure to be a life of mis-steps. I’m working on accepting those things, and keeping them in mind when I start to feel a little bit blue. I am a work in progress. And you know what, maybe I won’t wake up next year on my birthday bathed in utter joy and funfetti sprinkles, but maybe I’ll enjoy it a little bit more, and that’s all I can ask of myself.
To be fair, my twenty-third year has been pretty downright amazing; my partner, Patrick, and I moved in together in January; I graduated from university; I moved into a new apartment; I got my first acceptance letter and my first writing job; had surgery (again), and we even did a tiny bit of travelling. I’ve made huge strides in a lot of areas of my life in a year, and I look forward to reading this post on my next birthday, looking back on all the things I did as a twenty-four-year-old (and let’s hope I don’t make the whole crying-into-my-oatmeal bit a regular birthday tradition).
I can say that I am genuinely excited for the next year of my life. As a recent grad, I know it will be filled with utter uncertainty career-wise, and perhaps even a crisis (or two), but I’ve got some seriously good pals to surround myself with, and even some exciting plans in the works.