Wasn’t I just writing about turning 23? It seems impossible that a year has passed. On Tuesday I am turning 24 and this is by far the least excited I have ever been for a birthday. I feel very adult-ish about that statement. My 24th birthday will be spent in Virginia with my family so I am very excited about that aspect, but this whole mid-twenties thing is freaking me out a little.
When I turned 23, I was so nostalgic looking back on what an incredible year I had. When I turned 22, I changed my entire life. I took on an entire new outlook on life, I graduated college, I moved 2,000 miles away from home by myself, and I met some of the most incredible people that made St. John my new home. Looking back on this year is a little different…it has been a great year nonetheless, but the year before was hard to top.
In my 23rd year I became a lot more stable on St. John. I went through a couple of jobs I was unhappy with, to end up settling on doing what I love, becoming a lot closer to being financially secure, and finally not feeling like my entire life revolves around work because I am so happy doing what I do. I have built secure relationships with great people that I know are not transient and will be in my life for many, many years. I have said “yes” to as many things as I could, boat trips, dance classes, game nights, cliff jumping, parasailing, and a lot of karaoke (thanks to vodka and Dakota).
Along with saying yes to new things, I have been a lot better about saying no. I have a hard time saying no. When it comes to people asking me for a few too many one-sided favors or doing things that make me uncomfortable, I mostly just say yes to avoid a problem. But I am learning, and getting better at saying no. When a situation arises that I am asked to do something that in that moment I want to do, but I know it is not a good choice in the long run, this year I have been so much better about saying no. And for that, I am proud of myself.
This year has been filled with more tears than I am proud of, but I am confident that the lessons I learned will keep me from heartbreak in my next year of life. I am so much stronger than I have given myself credit for. I am so much better than I have let anyone lead me to believe I am, and though a hard lesson to learn, I am so grateful for it. I will never push someone to feel a way they don’t, or to be someone they are not, because there are plenty of people out there that are exactly what I need them to be. There has been a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders in the past few months after breaking that cycle of constantly needing and pushing people. It’s exhausting and will lead to a dead end and heart break every single time.
I moved to a studio apartment and I live alone for the very first time. My friends call it my “closet” or my “dorm room” which is fair, but it is all mine, I go home by myself most nights, and I am finally at peace being alone. I will be the first to admit that I was terrified to move to a place by myself but I have a new found love of independence and freedom that is truly amazing.
23 has been good to me. I am ready to stop planning and start doing, focus more on me and what I can do in my next year. I have very few things holding me to one place, I can be or do whatever I want and that is what I plan to do in my next year. 24 comes off to me as a dull and uninteresting year of life, which is why I plan on making it the opposite. I don’t know what changes this year will bring, but whenever I end up, I hope next year I have learned more lessons, said yes to more things I should, and no to more things I shouldn’t, so I can write this next year off as a good one.
I can say for certain that this year will include jumping off a few more rocks and boats, a couple hundred more “cheers” and milagro/soda/pineapples, countless Caribbean sunsets and a lot more adventure. Cheers to 24!