So, I’m 24 now.
These are some of the thoughts I wrote down throughout 23, and now that I’m 24, I thought I’d share them.
There will be nights when you’re so lonely you’ll want to throw up, smash your body up against a strangers, draw the nicotine back up to your lips — but you won’t do these things. You’ll toss and turn in bed, arms empty of all the vices you crave, and eventually fall asleep. You’ll blink your dreary eyes open the next blessed morning, alive to face it all again, whether you like it or not, and think yourself stronger for the absence of all of these luxuries – the love and lies and coping mechanisms we all depend on.
Someone will ask you if you go to church, and the only response you’ll give is a glorious, “Um. Nope.” You’ll feel less guilt about this response than you would have felt a year ago, less self-loathing for not reaching an impossible standard you’ve held yourself up to your entire life. You’ll finally just let yourself be. And for now, at 24, that is enough.
You will still feel so uncertain about love, about what it means to care about someone romantically. You’ll meet new people and try them all on for size, realizing maybe there will never be a perfect fit. Maybe that’s okay. Maybe love isn’t about a perfect fit anyways.
There will be new boys and new kisses. You will feel your heart grow back to a safer size than it ended at 22. You will realize it’s okay to want someone, to desire the company of another person, to actively seek it out.
In this exploration, you’ll be reminded that caring about other people is not easy. It takes work to ask, to show concern, to pry your desperate hands off of your own selfishness. It’s not an easy business, caring about other people, and you won’t master it this year. But you’ll work harder to try and understand it. To care, even when it’s easier to close your eyes and ignore the problem.
In the wake of college, you’ll try freelance, pick up full time work instead, try to follow your creative pursuits after hours, but mostly end up binge watching Scandal.
You’ll move from a shared house with four other people to a teeny-tiny studio apartment, and in all honesty, you’ll love it, even as you begrudgingly watch rent eat up your paycheck every month.
You’ll start running, beating your feet to the melodies of strong women. You’ll sweat and smell and not put on makeup and wear socks with your damn sandals, because honestly, fuck it, your worth is defined by your perception of yourself anyways. Want to be a badass? Want to be strong? Decide you are and just try live accordingly. (Or, as Neil Gaiman suggests, imagine what a strong person would do, and then just try to do that.)
You won’t read as much as you want to, but when you do, you will feel better. Try to do this more often in 24.
Try to make 24 the year where you actually do the things you’ve been dreaming about. 23 was about building the foundation. Bridging the gap between initial post-grad life and whatever comes next. But you’ve laid that groundwork now, so go and do more. Write the article. Sing the song. Talk to the stranger.
Live your life with arms wide open. Today is where your book begins.
But don’t let the year go by without accomplishing something more.
And, just for kicks, make this post to hold yourself to it.