It is my 23rd birthday
According to the Blink 182 song “What’s My Age Again?," “nobody likes you when you're 23."
In astrology, 23 is the 12th house profection year. The 12th house stands for themes such as: retreating from the outer world, exploring dreams, confronting secrets and hidden enemies, and undergoing inner transformations.
23 signifies the dark before the dawn. It emphasizes closing out old cycles, and finally stepping into the new. Sounds heavy right? But seems about accurate, in my case.
This summer has been a whirlwind of activities from graduating and tying up loose ends, to hanging out with family after months of separation, and taking the time to catch up with friends, read and write. More importantly, I've been evolving from who I once was when I first entered college, and planning for my move to Chicago to go to graduate school!
Yes, I’m heading to the Windy City to study social justice journalism. And to be honest, I’m really looking forward to the retreat from society and living in an apartment on my own for the first time, spending more time in creative pursuits and exploring the city.
I can see it now. I'll wake up with a cup of green tea, fix myself some avocado toast with an egg on top, and stare at the gorgeous city view from my apartment window, before heading off to classes. Then, I'll don my best journalism gear, and hit the streets to interview sources, learning and growing from each story. It is an adventure I’m quite looking forward to.
Much of my life these past 22 years have been shaped by the people around me. First, during my pre-college life, it was my family, since I was the youngest child, loved, safe and protected, yet yearning to spread my wings and experience new things. Then in college, I got to do just that, experience a whole plethora of new things, party hard, meet new people, go on road trips, go camping, but also write, do internships and present at conferences. It was fun to be the confident, motivated, go-getter as well as the life of the party as I spent most of my time within a large friend group.
But 23 is finally time for me to just do ME, my way. Without any pressure, without any judgement, without any influence, just leaping in.
In many ways, 23 is a weird age. You aren’t as young and fool-hardy as you were in your late teens to early 20s, but you aren’t really an adult adult. Most 23 years olds have either just begun working or just started graduate school. But you are still expected to have it all figured out, Know what you want from life, career, love, and friendship.
I see all these Instagram posts and Tik-Toks of twenty something year olds having a grand old time, they’re traveling, they’re eating new foods, they’re living the life. But we all know the 20s, while filled with vigor, health and spontaneity, are also filled with countless uncertainties.
BUT, this post isn't about the ups and downs of the twenties (Fun fact, I actually wrote an OP-ED in The Creightonian on this, check out: The 20s can make or break you).
See, I've always believed to attract good energy in life, you should always focus on the good. So for my 23rd birthday, since 2 plus 3 makes 5 and I’m born on 5th August, here’s a list of 5 things I'm grateful for.
Even for a not-a-very nature-y person like me, stars are just a universally aesthetic and pleasing view for us all to enjoy. In my best moments and even the moments where I’ve felt completely alone, I have always looked up at those glittering points of light and known, it’ll all be okay because we all share the same sky, and well, there’s a couple of people going through similar things probably looking at the stars too. In this vast expanse, we might be tiny meaningless specks but it is our connections that define us, the connections we form underneath these very stars. Stars remind me that the universe has always got my back.
Not everyone is blessed with a great family, but for the ones who are, cherish them. They are the one constant in your life. Even when you move away, it is always gratifying to know that even they might not know every single detail of your life as you grow older, they will always want the best for you.
Check out my previous blog post for this, but how can books not be a blessing? They’re books. They’re always great. There’s a book on everything under the sun. It’s impossible to not have atleast ONE go-to book. Some of my favorites are “And the Mountains Echoed” by Khaled Hosseini, “The Monk who sold his Ferrari” by Robin Sharma, “On writing” by Stephen King, anything by Sidney Sheldon or Roald Dahl and any fiction or non fiction book related to social justice struggles. Idealism and the fight for the truth are always close to my heart.
Always always always take lots of photos. Why? Because photos are the best ways to preserve memories. I have an album of all my favorite memories, and it’s always fun and heartwarming to see photos of when I was younger, or of my wild shenanigans in college or celebrating birthdays with my family. Photos take you back to a simpler time, and they teach you to be grateful for the people in your life that you shared those memories with, whether or not you're still in touch. But photos also remind you to keep creating new memories so you can keep taking even more photos!
Granted it’s a little harder to do in this climate, but when it is safe to do so, travel is possibly the best thing we do as humans. We live in a world which is increasingly becoming interconnected, and traveling has become a lot easier than it was a few decades ago. The airport is my favorite place because it is the gateway to all these different cultures, unique sights and beautiful things to see. If there's one thing about travel that we can be grateful for, it is that we do not have to stay stagnant, we can explore and put ourselves out of our comfort zone, any time we want. We just have to be brave enough to take that step.
So what are my resolutions for this birthday?
Take life in its stride, take the good with the bad, and finally feel free at 23.
Seek vulnerability over comfort.
Always listen to my heart.
Value those who come through for me and do the same for them.
Not let failure hold me back.
Always uphold my passion, fire, and sense of self-respect.
Give people the benefit of the doubt unless they prove you wrong, because the world is filled with enough cynics as is.
To use my voice to speak up in an informed way, instead of keeping quiet or just speaking for the sake of it.
And, more importantly, to value authenticity, freedom and the truth above all else. After all, what more does an aspiring journalist want?
Now that I think about it, maybe they should change the lyric to “I like me at 23.”