March 6, 2018
I can feel 25 years of life dancing between my fingers. It feels new and strong – like it can be trusted. I choose to trust it. It feels electric.
24 is ready to be retired. 24 never quite fit me – I didn’t pay much attention to it. It was a cocoon year where I burrowed deep within myself and stumbled my way through to what normalcy meant to me. Thankfully, the dark and scary parts of my life feel known now. I’ve memorized their features as I would a lover.
I enter 25 feeling free. The first time I went full nomad I felt as though I was in a state of constantly trying to escape and to find myself again. As if I was simultaneously held hostage by my thoughts yet trying to hold them close for examination all at once. I never knew the right thing to do. I had no trust in my abilities. I never felt safe. I had many days of travel entirely alone not speaking to another person. I became all too familiar with what being invisible was like in a brand new city. I let the colors from my soul fade away and let my surroundings bleed into me. I wanted to feel differently. I wanted to be changed by these places.
24 was the year I picked out the colors I wanted to fill my life with. I chose some carefully and let others spill rapidly across my days. I booked trips on a whim. I pushed myself to the limits to squeeze out more time with loved ones all over the world. I watched so many damn sunsets. 24 was a rebuilding year and I’m proud of what I’ve built. I laugh fully again. I laugh instead of cry about tough topics because the pain has given way to perspective and humor.
25 is a year of adventure. It’s the year I want to get out of my head and push myself to experience life in the way I have learned I love to. I rolled the dice unnecessarily by deciding to nomad again. When you know yourself really well, you become intimately familiar with your limits. I can trace mine. I choose to put myself in situation after situation this year to cross them. They are irrelevant anyway driven by fear, insecurity, and control.
If I can ask anything of 25 it is this: please give me all the time with those I love that you can bear so I may share my life with them and walk their path all the same. My best memories of 24 are with another person. My soul delights in sharing and I want my 25th year of life to be one full of those moments.
I was walking with a friend last week the day I left San Diego. We were talking about our parents. At some point in the conversation, I said “I hope my parents don’t recognize me as I get older. If I am what they expect and if I am that afraid to push the boundaries, I have failed.” Reflecting on it now, it’s how I feel about growing older. This time last year I think I would have been baffled at who I am now.
15 year old me would both marvel at who I am today and be very concerned. I was a serious kid at the time, deep in the closet holding onto a Christian faith that I could feel disappearing. She would marvel at my travels and my desire for genuine truth. She would not know what to make of my sexuality and my lack of faith. She wouldn’t have recognized me. I don’t want her to.
While I am thrilled with these wild 25 years of life, I hope 26 year old me doesn’t recognize who I am today. I hope 35 year old me is incredibly embarrassed yet thankful for my 25 year old’s silliness. I hope I am always kind to myself.
Each birthday these last five years, I am reminded of what a man said to me on a trip to Big Sur when I was 20: “Each year of your 20s will feel like a decade. You will change so much. Embrace it and expect it. Be a sponge.”
We’ll see what this decade of a year has in store.