To preface this, I just turned 22 years old on March 6th. It still feels weird to say/write 22 but that’s technically my age based on the arbitrary definition of days, weeks, years, etc. I like to reflect when I have a birthday because it’s a natural break in time to do so. I also find that my level of consciousness about my life is raised about a week before my birthday, during, and a week+ after my birthday. I think we can all relate to this. For me, it’s this feeling of “where did the time go?” meets “what am I doing with my life?”. It’s a strange mix of gratitude for making it another year, fear of time passing too quickly, and curiousity about what’s to come. I try to take advantage of this feeling as long as I can because I know soon that 22 will be easy to say and won’t make me pause.
A lot of awesome things happened in my 21st year. I’ve written about them before but I’ll recap here:
- Graduated from UNC in three years
- Got a job at a small startup
- Moved to San Francisco
- Got a job at Automattic
- Went to the opera, alcatraz, and a playoff baseball game for the Giants.
- Traveled to Colorado (Denver, Boulder), Utah (Park City), Florida (Winter Park), North Carolina (Raleigh), other parts of California (Carmel, Big Sur, San Diego), and New Zealand.
- Booked tickets for the Women’s World Cup in Vancouver
- Hit my goal for saving money
- Joined a futsal meetup
- No major injuries or sicknesses (yes, this is important)
I had a TON of fun and have taken way too many pictures. This wasn’t an easy year though. Looking back at 21, it was the year of pure hard work and focus to graduate, get a job, move, get another job, travel, etc. I pushed myself to my limits to graduate when I did and had to sacrifice playing rugby my last semester to do so. I worked five jobs at one point to try to make up for a lack of a fourth year job experience wise. I worked 75-80 hour weeks during my trial with Automattic to prove myself. In the midst of all of this, my grandfather died. While I still feel him with me, there’s an odd part of me that enjoyed thinking that I was still the same age as when he was still alive as of that would slow down time and make the days since his death easier. Losing him hit me hard and still does because he’s a big reason I had the opportunity to graduate, get a good job, travel, etc. Walking around New Zealand this past week or so just makes me wish he could see me now that I’m on a solid path. The amazing thing was that he told me repeatedly how proud he was of me even though when he died I really didn’t have anything figured out. I was headed to San Francisco the last time I saw him. My flight was right after we said goodbye yet he still was proud and supportive. Thanks, Granddad, for believing in me and for being proud of me when I was full of doubt and fear.
Life lesson wise, I also learned how to leave an employer not once but twice. Needless to say, I’m not very good at this as I tend to be very emotional but I think this past year gave me solid experience doing so. I also learned that you can keep in touch with people if you are purposeful about it. Gah I am so lucky to have the people in my life that I do. Outside of the deeper sides of life, I jumped out of the shallow world of social media as an effort to reclaim my attention, energy, and time. I couldn’t be happier with this decision and would recommend that more people at least try it out. Right now, I have no intention of joining back in.
22 started out in New Zealand so I guess it’s only downhill from here, right?! Kidding aside, 22 started out in a wonderful place with a group of people I didn’t even know 8 months ago. Plus, if someone told me when I was 21 that for my 22nd birthday I would be in New Zealand on a team meet up for Automattic I would probably have laughed at them and secretly wished that would come true.
This year I’m looking to continue building the foundation I’ve started in my 21st year in terms of health, time management, education, travel, and finance. I want to start implementing a couple of personal experiments to help meet some goals of mine (more on this later). I want to continue to reclaim my time by distancing myself from social media and instead turning towards more meaningful ways of communicating with others. I want to save in order to experience through travel as well as to save for my future. I want to continue to taking care of my body as I hope to have many more years using this thing 🙂 I want to see more of the world and plan to take advantage of my job’s flexibility and my own youth. I want to continue to educate myself through continuing to read more books, conversations with others, and through actually getting into the deep end with code. I have a clear idea of what works for me in my life and of how I want to use my time at this age. This doesn’t mean I’m closing off to anything outside of these ideas but that I am going to try to purposefully narrow in on the things I do want to accomplish. My 21st year was about hitting big milestones: graduating, getting a job, moving. This year is about making sure these big changes fit appropriately in my life and that I build upon them rather than stagnating. Graduating doesn’t mean I stop learning. Getting a job doesn’t mean I stop pushing myself to be better. Moving to a new place doesn’t mean I stop traveling. Beyond all of this, I’m excited to see where those I love go in life. Life isn’t something that you do alone and I’m lucky to know some incredible people that make my life well worth it.
Here’s to 22.