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!

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Love Like This

HAPPY GALENTINE’S DAY!!!!!

For those of you who are already confused, I’ll turn it over to Leslie Knope.

“What’s Galentine’s Day? Oh, it’s only the best day of the year. Every February 13th, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it, breakfast-style. Ladies celebrating ladies. It’s like Lilith Fair, minus the angst. Plus frittatas. It’s wonderful. And it should be a national holiday.”

Basically, the day before we all celebrate romantic love, you can celebrate other kinds of love with your best buds. Obviously this isn’t just about ladies – anyone can celebrate Galentine’s Day! The main thing to recognize is that it’s just as important as Valentine’s Day. If there’s no romance happening in your life right now, or if you’d rather not spend a whole day fixating on it, February 13th is the perfect way to celebrate love for your closest friends instead. And even if you are super into Valentines Day, that’s cool, too – you’re just adding an entire extra day of love. I mean, what’s better than a day dedicated to hanging out with your besties and telling each other how much you love one another? THATS WHAT ITS ALL ABOUT!!!

After leaving high school, I learned that a big part of life is the work and effort that needs to be put into maintaining successful relationships. Mainly, I noticed that since all of my close friends had moved away for college, if I wanted to keep our friendships alive, it was going to take more effort than before. And by experiencing this, I learned that the best friends to have are the ones who you want to make the effort for, and who want to make the effort for you, too.

As I starting stumbling more and more into “adult” life, I also began to understand the importance of removing toxic people from my life. This doesn’t have to mean you create major rifts in your relationships for the sake of getting rid of people you aren’t close to anymore. But rather, I came to terms with the fact that my own personal wellness is greatly affected by the people I spend the most time with. And the best thing you can do is surround yourself with people who make you happy. Find the people who make you feel safe and welcomed, who you trust to always have your best interest at heart, and who bring out your best self.

So for Galentine’s Day, I’m reflecting on all of the amazing friends in my life and how much they mean to me, how much they inspire me, and how much joy they add to my life. When I stop to think about all that my friends have accomplished, I’m so grateful to be able to share it with them. Some of my friends are landing their dream jobs and pursuing grad school. Some are taking time to figure out what their next steps should be. Some are taking on new responsibilities while others are making the world’s greatest grilled cheese, and I couldn’t be more proud of every single one of them.

I’m often labeled as the Mom Friend and I hold that label very close to my heart. I care so deeply about all of my friends. I want them to be happy and I want them to pursue their dreams and I want them to stay hydrated and get enough sleep. Seeing the people you love succeed is one of the most rewarding things ever – not because I had anything to do with it, but because their success is just another piece of their life that I get to be a part of, and with that, our relationships become even more special.

I know I’ve spent this entire post spilling all of my sappy Hufflepuff guts to everyone, but I’ll leave you with one last thing: don’t be afraid to share your love. That’s what you would do with your significant other on Valentine’s Day, right? Why should Galentine’s Day be any different? Today, I encourage all of you beautiful rule breaking moths to celebrate your friendships as loudly as you possibly can. Sometimes it may feel silly to share genuine feelings of gratitude and sincerity with your closest friends once you’ve reached the point in your relationship when your love is understood. But it’s definitely worth it to give those feelings the recognition they deserve. So let’s go spread the love, and most importantly, eat some waffles. Because why would anybody ever eat anything besides breakfast food?

(PS. Visit my Etsy shop for instant downloads of Galentine’s Day cards!)