On birthdays

I joked on Twitter the other day that I wasn’t sure if I was at the age where birthdays have ceased to mean as much, or if twenty-two was just anticlimactic, because it came and went with exactly zero excitement.

I think it’s probably a combination of both. Twenty-two doesn’t come with any new legal or societal privileges, and it’s not any kind of milestone. I’m holding out hope that I’ll still appreciate the milestone birthdays in the future – the decade markers and whatnot.

I’m spending some time now reflecting on the passage of another year. I’ve never been that big on New Year’s resolutions, but birthdays have always been a time for me to set some goals for the future. Maybe because it’s a more personal marker of our growth? I don’t know – on paper I suppose it’s just as arbitrary as the New Year, but it’s more meaningful to me nonetheless.

When I look back on the past year, I feel proud of the things I’ve accomplished, but perhaps more importantly, content with the obstacles I’ve hurdled and the strength I’ve gained.

This year was a whirlwind – I juggled three undergrad classes, one grad class, a job, a teaching gig, volunteering, and an internship and came out the other side of it with a diploma. I had to say goodbye to the place I’d called home for three and a half years. I moved into my first apartment and started a new job. I came to the end of a two and a half year relationship and came to terms with a lot of aspects of my mental health. I know it’s a cliche, but I’m grateful for all of it.

For twenty-two, I have some concrete goals I want to achieve. I want to move into a bigger apartment (bye, bye shoe box,) and take the GRE. I want to get a raise, and start applying to grad schools. I want to make progress on my novel, and continue to read voraciously. Those are all things that I have a fair amount of control over and can make happen if I work hard enough.

Then there are the things that I hope will happen, but aren’t under my control. Things that I can only recognize and accept when they come.

I hope to find love, and I hope I have the strength to accept nothing less than I deserve. I hope I find confidence and I hope I have the perseverance to chase it, even when it is difficult. And I hope I find balance, even though it often feels contrary to my nature.

What are your goals for the next year?

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