5 Things I Learned From Being 23

What's My Age Again?
What’s My Age Again?

As my 24th birthday looms on the horizon, I am plagued with my usual multitude of annual questions, the pesky ones that root themselves in the back of my mind and gnaw on my brain tissue until I am blue in the face.

…the most important of these usually being; what the hell have I learned this year?

I am fortunate enough to share my day of birth with the first of the year, and while many (myself included) use January 1st as the pinnacle point to completely abandon their image on a quest for personal-rebranding, this year I’m going to approach both my birthday and the New Year with a newfound appreciation for my past as it propels me onward into 2014 (aka age 24).

Here are 5 things I learned while meandering through year 23 on this planet. Perhaps some of them may be useful to you as you begin to construct your New Years and/or New Life resolutions:

1. Best friends, not boyfriends, are the ones who will inevitably break your heart.

It’s important to note that as you get older, the chance that your best friend will screw you over by screwing your man, will become an increasingly more common occurrence. Know that they will rip your heart out and stomp on it until it bleeds red onto your clean white carpet. Know that they will cause you pain. But the most important thing, the only important thing, is to know that it will all be okay. And if it’s not right now, it will be soon. Don’t berate yourself for trusting them. Don’t praise yourself for moving them out of your life. Accept it. Just as it is. Let it be. And move on.

2. Allow yourself to feel numb sometimes. It doesn’t mean you are depressed.

It doesn’t mean anything is wrong with you. All it means is that you are cleansing both the good and the bad to make space for the new. Eventually, you will feel worse. Eventually you will feel better. And in time, you will begin to recognize that mistaken numbness instead as a sense of blissful neutrality. Like a glass that is half full or half empty, your life is entirely based upon your perception. It’s what you make it.

3. When you fall in love, let yourself actually fall, no matter how fucking hard it may be.

Don’t compare yourself, for better or for worse, to anyone–not to his ex-girlfriend who has a banging bod or to the hostess at your favorite Mexican restaurant who always winks one beautiful green eye at him or to mermaid look-a-like at the beach with the long flowing locks. Who gives a shit, really? If he loves you enough to tickle your back at 3 am after you’ve had a nightmare that unicorns kidnapped your baby sister or to hold your bangs back while you vomit in a porcelain toilet—then he loves you enough to not think about anyone else. At the end of the day, he’s with you and he loves you all the way. So love yourself all the way, too.

4. Don’t be afraid of new places. Don’t be scared to be scared or scared to be uncomfortable.

Let yourself grow from every new experience. Let yourself mold into it until you feel yourself change. Or don’t change. Whatever. Just take a bit of something new from each place and leave a bit of something old behind. And here’s the catch; don’t leave that part of yourself you no longer like. Leave that part of yourself you no longer need, a piece of your own energy that you can release into the atmosphere for someone else to grab hold of. Feel yourself fly through the air like fairy dust and land on someone else who needs it more than you do. Common…it’s time.

5. Know that at some point, you will hurt someone you once cared for, someone who still cares for you.

Accept that it may take him a few years to get over it, and don’t let it boost your ego when people tell you so. Close your eyes, send him happy thoughts, and wish that someday soon, he will find someone to give his love to. Because trust me, he will, and when he does, don’t be sad about it or melancholy about it. Be happy about it. And admit that had you felt the same way about him, you probably wouldn’t have lived up to all his expectations. After all, you’re only human (not the majestic pretty princess he incorrectly had you pegged as).

And finally (this one is not so much something I learned, but rather, a fitting farewell)…

Don’t be too hard on yourself if 2013’s resolutions resulted only in complete and utter failures.

Remember that all the time, all the good things take time.

And luckily, you have a few more decades (at least) to get it right. TC mark

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