Lessons Learned

Saying goodbye to 23 and welcoming 24.

Birthdays are a strange thing, in my opinion. We throw these extravagant parties and expect people to buy us presents and make us a cake to celebrate another year of life. Shouldn’t we be celebrating our parents for conceiving us or more importantly, our moms for birthing us? Why is it that we get one day (or in some instances, one weekend or even one week) every year, to just have people bow down to us? Perhaps this is the negative nancy in me talking since many of my close friends are going to be away for my birthday OR some may call this coming-of-age realization a sign of “maturity.” End rant.

My 24th birthday is this Sunday and I keep getting asked the same question over and over again, “Are you excited for your birthday?” You want the honest answer to that question? No, not really. Twenty-three, was by a landslide, the best year of my life. It’s quite possible I say that about every passing year, but I’m not playing this time. Don’t get me wrong, I still plan on celebrating with the people I care about most, but instead of making the day about me, I plan on fully embracing my relationships and practicing so much gratitude.

What made 23 so great? Here is a snapshot of a few of the most memorable moments in the last year.

  • I finally lost that stubborn freshman 15, two full years after graduating college. But more importantly, I completely changed the way I view fitness and nutrition and have made a life for myself that is both healthy and sustainable.
  • I hiked [around] Mt Rainier; No I did not summit Washington’s highest mountain and active volcano but it’s on my bucket list. Maybe a challenge for 24? I also did not think to wear sunscreen and got the worst sunburn of my entire life – very memorable in a not-so-pleasant way.
  • I landed a big girl job…with a real salary! Goodbye, food stamps.
  • I purchased a new car (and a hybrid because I live in Washington now). This was probably the most adult-ish thing I’ve done since graduating college. For a minute, I could have sworn I was signing my life away. I absolutely love my little Ford C-Max and wouldn’t trade it for the world but I do miss my Rav 4 dearly.
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RIP Rav. I miss you everyday.
  • I had to say goodbye to a few close friends who moved from Seattle for opportunities in different parts of the country. As tough as this was, it made me step even further outside of my comfort zone which led me to meet a plethora of really wonderful and special people.
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Love you humans, forever and ever.
  •  I saw a ton of amazing live artists perform including Hermitude, Odesza & Jai Wolf to name a few. And now every time I hear their music, I get chills.
  • I became a vegetarian which has completely changed the way I view factories, animals, policies, corporations. I’ve also gained a remarkable appreciation for the environment.
  • I reunited with friends and family in New York for the first time after moving to Seattle almost two years ago! Plus, I’ve had the pleasure of acting as a tour guide for the many friends who have passed by (not to mention my house has become somewhat of a hostel).
  • I trained for and completed my first 5k. It’s been on my bucket list for a while now and so I finally decided to bite the bullet and just do it. Surprisingly, it was kind of fun and a VERY small part of me actually likes the rush I get from running (I still can’t believe I’m saying that).
  • I attended my brother’s graduation from college. Still finding it hard to wrap my head around the fact that he is a full-blown adult with a real job and everything!
  • I finally started this blog you’re reading!
Twenty-three left me with so many incredible memories, new friends, discovered values and new passions. I’m definitely not ready to close this chapter but I know that the process of aging is fluid and birthdays are really just an excuse to dress up and eat cake, so I have nothing to fear. If 24 looks anything like 23, then I’m in for a treat. So ask me again: Am I excited about my birthday? No, not really. But I sure as hell am beaming at the possibilities that 24 will bring.
 Talk to you when I’m a year wiser 🙂
Al
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