Turning 23 was a great occasion. I was surprised with a fantastic party planned by the sweetest roommates/teammates, along with other members of the organization who came to visit. I love surprises—they’re spontaneous and sweet.
L-R: JoLyn, Jon, Stephanie, Susie, DANGER WOLF (Jeff), me, Aly, Kristin, Matt, Elizabeth, Felicia, Danielle, Tanya
Prior to my 23rd birthday, I was actually dreading it. I regarded 23 as an age where adulthood starts happening. Twenty-three is when you should start to know what you want to do career wise, look to fall in love with someone, be the person you want to be. But living in China only fulfilled the last clause in the previous sentence; I hadn’t figured out what I wanted to do or liked anyone. And because I felt obligated to do these things at 23, I didn’t want to turn 23.
But later on, I realized these things didn’t need to belong to a checklist; I started to look at these things that could, but not necessarily should, happen. Surely I would hear phrases like “Your biological clock is ticking!”, “So what are you doing now?”, and “Why don’t you like anyone?” from annoying people in relation to my career and special somebody in life. But those kind of comments didn’t mean I needed to have those things at 23. And I think believing I need to have all that figured out at a certain age was contributing towards that dread of turning older.
Here is a secret I’ve learned: There is no age that qualifies as a stage you can reach where you figure it all out. There are too many ups, downs, and arounds in life. You learn as you go.
So with that revelation, I was not afraid or dreadful to turn 23 anymore. I welcomed that age, because I was excited for the challenges, responsibilities, and fun of being a twenty-something.
Twenty-three, thanks for the wisdom and amazing company.
P.S. The theme of the party was “gangster,” hence the “tattoos,” bandannas, ghetto poses, and bling.