I was planning on writing a review on the book I just finished reading for the blog today, but my brain decided to take a vow of silence until I let it talk about what it actually wanted to talk about so here we are, folks. Here’s a review of my 22nd year.
I turned 23 earlier this week, which is something I’m honestly still processing. I know birthdays are supposed to be happy things, and I did actually have a good day. I had work and was treated to birthday cupcakes from a coworker, which was surprising and an extremely touching gesture to me. After work I got dinner and drinks with my sister in Hell’s Kitchen, and walked around on the unexpectedly warm night. I went to bed that night with a belly full of good food and cocktails and a smile, which is a gal can really ask for.
But over the past year my life has changed so much I feel more like 83 than 23. The G in my blog title will now henceforth stand for “grandma”, because I can feel my bones turning into dust as I reflect on the last year. Respect your elders and leave nice comments on my shit.
This year I’ve gotten my undergraduate degree, left all of my friends to move across the country and (once again) start over in a completely new city, got a job, got fired, got another job, quit, got another job and stayed. There was also I trip to France to complete my life-long dream of going to Paris somewhere in the middle of that too.
Whew. Can we take a minute to breathe? Let’s take a minute right now.
Looking back at all the things I had to give up to move to New York can be really painful sometimes, I won’t lie. I used to live in an apartment with the people I considered my best friends, the people who knew me better than anyone else on the planet. And the sad truth is that we don’t talk anymore, even though I wish we did. To paraphrase that dumb monkey from Lion King however, it’s better to learn from the past than to run from it. So here’s 5 lessons being 22 taught me:
1. You know what friendships you deserve
If a friendship seems to be making you more miserable than happy, it’s time to take a step back. Are you being treated respectfully in this dynamic? Is what you expect from your friend the same as what is expected of you? If not, there’s no harm in bringing your concerns up to your friend and course correcting. Lots of people like to shout about getting rid of “toxic” people in their lives, but not every unbalanced relationship is toxic. Sometimes fixing an unhealthy situation leads to a great friendship. Which leads us to….
2) Don’t beg to be respected
There should never be a situation where you have to continuously ask someone to respect you. That is a toxic relationship, and it’s doing you no good to be in it. You don’t owe that person anything. Get out of there right now. Do not be the dumb girl in this scary movie of a relationship that goes into the basement to see what made that noise. You know what it was! It obviously was a monster! Just get out!
This metaphor got confusing….. let’s move on.
3) It really is okay is have no idea what you’re doing
It’s said over and over again, especially to new/recent grads, but TRUST ME. I had such a clear idea of what my post grad life would be like and it is truly NOTHING like that at all. But you know what? I’m okay with that. I ended up at a job that I never really would’ve imagined for myself, but it’s one that I love and am really good at. Life has a way of nudging you along the right path. Don’t fight it. Explore all these great chances before they disappear.
4) Starting over never gets easier
Here’s a bummer revelation: Hitting reset is always going to suck. Always. I am a chronic “resetter”. In school I was always the new girl, I moved to the other side of the country for college, and then moved to New York right after graduation. Classic resetter moves. And you know what? It’s still extremely hard to do. I feel New York-illiterate when I talk to people who have been here even just a few months longer than I have, because I still don’t know all the “hip” brunch spots or bookstores or whatever. Make peace with not knowing what the hell is going on. Like, EVER. At all.
5) People will always surprise you with their kindness
You know how New Yorkers are always shown as being rude, gruff, and stand offish? NEVER let someone tell you that’s true. It’s complete lies. Sure, everyone has their bad days and can be snappy when their train has been stalled for 20 minutes, but almost every day I am charmed by the little acts of kindness and community I see. I’ve had tons of great conversations with random people on the train, seen people go out of their way to help each other, and overall just seen so so many little things that makes humanity great. Don’t go out into the world expecting the worst, even in a city like New York. The more you open yourself up to it, the more joy you’ll receive.
I’m typing this up at 2am. Welcome to being 23, some things never change. Let’s just maybe take it easy this year. Maybe.