“Her dreams went out the door when she turned twenty four”

I’ve been using song lyrics to describe my age for years now, and I’m not so sure how I feel about the past two years of lyrics. I’m saying goodbye to no one liking me as I leave 23, but I’m saying hello to my dreams going out the door at 24. Those seem kind of sad, but with as much weird as we’ve had recently 23 was actually pretty good. 24 isn’t starting how I thought it would, but I still can’t really say it’s bad either. I guess I’ve still got a full year to figure out what it will be like though.

It seems like a weird time to be celebrating something, but as it’s March 28 it’s time for me to celebrate another year on this earth. As weird as it seems it also seems like the perfect time to be celebrating life. So I’m going to soak in all of today as I welcome 24, and say farewell to 23.

As I said, 24 is definitely not off to the start that I thought it would have. Originally the plan was to go hiking at this place I had been wanting to visit for a while now. With social distancing in place though I’ve had to change those plans a bit. It’s been a pretty great day though so I can’t complain.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been thinking a lot about year 23, and what it brought. When I think of 23 the three words that come to mind are “change,” “growth,” and “discomfort.” Some of it seemed bad at the time, but as I look back on it all I can see the good that was there. In fact, there was a lot more good than bad overall. Just as there are three words to come to mind about 23, there are also three moments that come to mind that played big roles in my life.

The first would be when my sister Emily moved away for college. As happy as I was for her, and as much as I tried to focus on the good of the situation I struggled with it. It hurt my heart as we pulled away that day in August. In that moment besides the fact I knew she was happy I didn’t see much good in the situation. As time went on though it was easier to deal with. I found out a lot more about myself during that time, and revisited parts of myself that I forgot were there. I also learned that technology can make it seem like you aren’t that far away. Phone conversations, snap chats, and texts were sent back and forth throughout the months we were away from each other. Overall, it was a struggle that I didn’t think I could deal with. I learned that I could though thanks to technology, the other great people in my life, and my own strength. I grew stronger, learned more about me, and became even more thankful for the moments I have with those in my life. It’s a moment in my 23rd year that dealt with all three words. It brought it’s changes, it’s growth, and it’s discomfort.

Another thing I guess that was good about the first moment mentioned is that partly because of it I ended up on the President’s list my last semester of college. I threw myself into my school work during this time, and worked as hard as I could to finish off school on a good note. I finished with all A’s, and that leads to my second moment. That was finishing college. Turning in that last assignment was more of a relief than I could have imagined. Honestly, I didn’t really know how I’d feel about finishing it all. There was a lot more emotion than I thought there would be. I spent the last five years of my life in college, and I’ve grown so much as a person in that time. Finishing it all was like finishing a chapter of a book. It’s a chapter of my life that is now just a memory with lessons I can take with me. College taught me that school didn’t have to be a miserable experience. Sure I had times of complaining, but it allowed me to see that school could be so much fun. I hadn’t thought of school as fun since elementary school. So when I graduated there was a bit of sadness to leave that time of fun learning. I knew that was something that I could take with me though. So with that sadness there was also a sense of relief to be finished . To see that all I worked for had come to a successful end, and I finally had that piece of paper that proves I did it. I used to find it interesting how proud people were of their diplomas. I get it now though! It’s not the piece of paper at all, but what it represents. The hard work, the tears, the laughter, the late nights, the bad grades, the good grades, and so much more. Finishing college and graduating was definitely life changing, and it had it’s moments of discomfort. Overall though college brought great memories, great growth, and great change.

The last moment that really impacted me during my 23rd year is more of a stretch over time. That’s been the time since graduating up until even now. It’s been the job search time. Of course it’s nice to have a little downtime, but after a while it gets old. The first few weeks right after graduation were great because it was like I could finally relax after five years of hard work. Then it got hard all of a sudden. I’m someone who likes to have some responsibility. I like to have a schedule with stuff to get done. I like to be able to check things off as I go. In this downtime it’s been harder to do that. My mental health has definitely been up and down during this time. It’s also been a beneficial time though. I’ve been able to do things I stopped doing for a while. It’s given me time to learn about things that I want to learn about through research and documentaries. I was also able to pick up some new things like playing guitar. As hard as this time can be sometimes it can also be extremely beneficial. It’s taught me more about patience, and its further enforced the idea that I want to always be striving to learn more. I’ve grown as a person even in these few short months since graduation. While there’s obviously been some crazy times such as the moment we’re currently in. This time has also been a sweet time that I’ve learned to rest in and enjoy.

It always amazes me how much I grow as a person from one birthday to another. I don’t feel I should be able to change that much in that short of a time, but I do. It always reinforces the idea that you never stop growing or changing. 23 saw it’s difficulties, but it also saw so many good moments as well. I’m thankful for the memories and lessons of 23, and I’m ready for the memories and lessons of 24. This year I hope to continue to learn new things, continue to grow, work on being kinder to myself, and work on breaking even more out of my comfort zone. So let’s go 24! Instead of letting it be the year that my dreams go out the door I hope for it to be the year that my dreams flourish.

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