23

Last Saturday was my 23rd birthday. Twenty-three… That’s closer to 25 than 20, which means that I’m almost to the halfway point of my Twenties, which means that I’m almost to that dreaded millennial quarter life crises. And it is real. Trust me, I can already feel it looming, like I’m nothing but a spark traveling down a fuse and the only thing that is going to stop that bomb at the end from detonating is…I don’t know. I know what I want to achieve by the time I’m 25 and I know what I want to have and do and say and create but even if I do accomplish all of those things, will that level of “success” be enough? Will any success I ever have be enough? So then how do I measure the past year of my life? How do I measure the years to come?

Last year my birthday plans got derailed by real life and when it came to celebrating this year I didn’t even attempt something grand. In fact I didn’t even want it. Because I didn’t need it. Last year I felt robbed and angry as if adulthood was some thief in the night who had come and taken all of my joy. This year I actually found satisfaction in all of the sacrifice and responsibility. So even though another year has gone by without bringing an end to my artists’ struggle, so much has changed. Mentally and emotionally I’ve learned to embrace the fear and the sacrifice and the delays and the unpredictability of life. I’ve learned to embrace the challenge that is creating. I’m not perfect. I still get overwhelmed and wish that giving up was an option. But it’s not. Because through all of the growth and all of the changes, it’s my spirit that has changed the most and that has made all the difference.

So now in no particular order, here are all of the insane and intriguing insight from the past 365 days I spent as a twenty-two-year-old from the cheesy to the overly-dramatic to the disappointingly true.

22 (2)

22

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7 thoughts on “23

  1. lauramccain says:

    Very moving! Thanks for sharing that wisdom with us.

  2. Happy belated birthday!

  3. […] present a handdrawn list of 26 things I have learned in recent years (inspired in equal parts by Laekan Zea Kemp’s traditional bday blog post and the 7 Things I’ve Learned So Far column in Writer’s Digest). Typed list follows for […]

  4. Ronny K says:

    So clearly I’m on a rampage through your blog…

    Anyway, that image is one of the best things I’ve come across. If you don’t mind I’m gonna share it a bit.

    Also, a little perspective from someone a few years down the road: the last couple of years, almost everyone present in my life was in his or her mid-thirties… and they’re all still struggling to figure it out or catch what they’re chasing. I just turned 27, and I feel like I have sooo much time (and I was definitely the college writer who HAD to be a bestseller by 22 TOPS). Anyway. Age is more than a number, but you do have a shitload of time to become a better you.

    • Thanks so much!!! I credit this post with getting me back in the swing of things when it comes to blogging. Ever since I became an adult I sort of abandoned the desire to celebrate milestones like birthdays but reflection is such an important part of growth that I decided to make another one of these lists. And I think you’re absolutely right. Despite all of the pressure millenials feel these days to reach a certain level of success before our parents did, for some reason it’s just not happening. But you know what? That’s totally okay. In fact, all of this pressure we’re putting on ourselves is diminishing the journey, which despite its hardships, is something we should actually be enjoying. I’m trying every day to start my day with gratitude and to just be thankful that I actually have a passion. Figuring out a way to make money doing what I love could end up being a life-long journey so I might as well enjoy the mere act of writing now while I still can.

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