23 Things About Being 23

Happy Birthday to me!

I often find that reflecting when my birthday comes around is just as cathartic as the new year, so of course I’d love to share it with y’all. I made a list of things that I’ve either learned, accomplished, or experienced as a 23-year old, as well as what some of my related ambitions are for the upcoming year. There are so many folks who dwell on their age, and get too concerned with what is supposed to be associated with that number and how and when those things are going to happen. But for me, every year has presented itself with new challenges and triumphs, and regardless of how old you are, there’s always room to learn more. Plus, I’m actually still a child in the grand scheme of things, so I’m looking forward to all of the years I still have to learn even more. So here we go: 23 things about being 23.

  1. You’re constantly inspired by people who are younger than you. Work as closely with them as you can. Whether that’s as a mentor, as an ally, or an involved activist, their vision of the future is certain to give you hope. Stay inspired, listen, and help however you can.
  2. You realize you need to start balancing your love/hate relationship with social media. You’ve done a great job learning to put the phone down and spend less time refreshing the same apps over and over again. Let’s keep doing that and really consider where you want to focus your energy and attention.
  3. There’s a family health scare that forces you to regroup in a lot of ways. It helps you further understand just how far you’ve come in the past few years, and that’s good. But it also gets you thinking about how nothing is permanent, which isn’t as good in the moment, but you’ll keep growing from it.
  4. You tried to start writing another book. It didn’t go well. You gave yourself a challenge to write the roughest draft possible in the month of November and it wasn’t right for you. When you’re ready, and in your own time, take a look at those pages you did manage to write and see what it inspires you to do next. Just make sure you keep writing.
  5. You turn into an actual grandma with back and hip pain. This means you can’t run, so you need to find other outlets for stress relief. It’s really, really difficult, because there are so few things that satisfy you the way running does. Still navigating this one. Stay tuned.
  6. You’re very aware when you’re the only queer person in a room. This isn’t going to go away, probably ever, but there’s definitely steps you can take to make it happen less often. Continue looking for your queer spaces.
  7. Bullet journaling has changed your life.
  8. You’re very confident in the fact that you don’t miss college like everyone said you would.
  9. You also don’t like drinking alcohol like everyone said you would. And that’s okay. It’s another part of who you are that you shouldn’t feel pressured to change.
  10. You accept that you have very strong Ravenclaw tendencies. You’re still very much a loud and proud Hufflepuff, it’s just that now you have a better understanding of what it means to have a little bit of all the house values inside you, and you’re figuring out which ones you treasure the most. But also…go badgers.
  11. You leave the East coast for the very first time. The West coast isn’t exactly your jam, but you get excited to visit again, and hope to visit even more places you’ve never been. Maybe you’ll even get to leave the country.
  12. You fall even more in love with New York, and learn that it’s going to take a lot for you to leave.
  13. Self care is more important now than it’s ever been. You’ve got a great new mantra: Resist. Recharge. Repeat. There are times when it feels impossible to get back up after getting knocked down. But you have gotten up. Every. Single. Time. Pay attention to your successes, because the fight is far from over. Don’t push yourself, but make sure you’re not standing still for too long.
  14. You meet a number of people who inspire you. For so long you’ve clung to the “don’t meet your heroes” mentality, and you’re starting to let that go in the communities you feel safest. You’ve got some great heroes. They love you. Really, they told you so. That’s pretty cool.
  15. Being an adult with an adult job suits you well. You are discovering what your strengths are, what you’re most passionate about, and you’re doing all you can to keep busy and fulfilled. If you want to keep doing all the things, that’s great. If not, that’s great, too. Either way, you’ve got plenty of time.
  16. Meditation is one of the most crucial tools you’ve collected in your life, and you get your 8th tattoo to keep yourself in check. In check with self love, self care, remaining present, working hard, and spreading kindness.
  17. You participate in your first ever protest. It’s scary and thrilling and empowering. You’re inspired to keep discovering new ways to make a dent. Don’t worry about its size – focus on its impact.
  18. You have to adjust your medication for the first time since you’ve started taking it. It’s still something you’re working on. And you’ll likely be working on it for a really long time, so try your best to be patient.
  19. You see Hedwig for the 8th and final time. It’s still your favorite show.
  20. You go to a nutritionist to figure out why you’re so damn hungry all the time. Surprise! You gotta eat more veggies. You’re never going to be the healthiest eater, but you’re becoming more mindful. And you’re still hungry. Another work in progress.
  21. You went on a first date. Not a second. And you’d really like there to be a second at some point. Sooner rather than later.
  22. You’ve started sharing more of your writing with the world and it’s definitely something you want to do more. Turns out, finding a literary agent and getting your book published isn’t the only way to do that. (But that would be really cool, too.)
  23. Resolutions are out. Intentions are in. You write them down and hang them on your wall and doodle about them in your bullet journal and remind yourself every day that you’re working with something, not for something.

Thanks to those who have joined me on my journey so far. I’m excited to see where this upcoming year takes us!


I started crying on the train today because of a Taylor Swift song so that obviously means it’s time for a blog post.

Birthdays are a great day to be on social media. Everyone knows you’re celebrating a special day and they send their best wishes even if you haven’t talked in a long time. And you feel loved and special and wonderful and that’s honestly one of the best thing about birthdays.

Unfortunately, there have been years in the past when my birthday hasn’t met this expectation of great days and happy celebrations. I have spent birthdays alone and sad and depressed and confused about why I wasn’t happy on the day  I was supposed to be celebrating the time I’ve spent here in this world. So this year I was determined to make sure that didn’t happen. And it didn’t. I had a beautiful day with wonderful people and delicious food. My tummy and my heart are very happy today.

But of course this got me thinking about phases of life, and where I am in my life right now, and where I’ve been and how things have changed. And then “Welcome to New York” came on while I was riding the subway and I got really emotional.

The past couple of years have been some of the hardest of my life. I have been forced to make very difficult decisions about college and jobs and friends and relationships. I’ve had to come to terms with personal struggles and mental illness and problem solving and some really shitty stuff that a lot of people don’t know about. And it’s been hard as hell. I just kept thinking “When is it going to get better? Aren’t I trying the hardest I possibly can? Why isn’t this getting any better?”

If I’m being completely honest, there are times when I still feel that way. But overall, this has been the most positive and happy I’ve felt in a long time. And now I’m starting a new year of my life and while of course there are some more difficult things I’m going to have to face, I feel more ready than ever.

I love living in New York City. It took me a while to let go of the fantasy image I had for my college experience and instead focus on making my time in this intimidating city as worthwhile as possible. I worked jobs and got internships and took difficult classes and got lost in Brooklyn and spent too much money on Hedwig tickets. With a lot of time, effort, and advice from people I really trusted, I was starting to shape the life I was most excited about living. I wasn’t so scared to talk to new people, I didn’t rely so much on HopStop to get me around the city, and I stopped being embarrassed about the things that made me the happiest. I surrounded myself with people and books and interests that inspired me, challenged me, and made me excited about the little things in life. I bought all the striped shirts and Frozen merch, my friends. And I loved all of it.

So for the first time in a while, I’m feeling pretty fucking great. There are still days and sometimes weeks that I get really frustrated if things don’t go the way I want and I feel like I can’t do anything about it. But then I have days like today that remind me that those feelings don’t last forever. And I can do something about them. It might take time and it might be shitty and sad and difficult in the process, but I can.

I know I’m revealing a lot here, my babes, but I felt like it was the perfect time. I’m kind of at a loss for how to wrap all of this up because I’m getting emotional again and I need to listen to the Red album for the sixth time today. So folks, I don’t know about you, but I’m feelin’ very 22. And I can’t wait to find out what that means for me.


Songs that got me through the rough days…

I Wanna Get Better – Bleachers

True North – Jillette Johnson

This Year – The Mountain Goats

Shake It Off – Taylor Swift

This is the New Year – A Great Big World

Midnight Radio – Hedwig & the Angry Inch

Battle Cry – Angel Haze & Sia

Warrior – Demi Lovato

Gravity – John Mayer

Electric Feel – MGMT

American Girl – Bonnie McKee

Let It Go – Idina Menzel

Reflections – MisterWives