So, what’s it like, having had existed for almost exactly 24 years? I’ve lived, roamed a bit, on this planet while it made 24 orbits around the sun.
And what have I learned? (If anything)
Two weeks ago a friend of mine, whose Scorpio Zodiac sign is only one of the countless traits that we both share, told me that when she woke up and looked in the mirror, she– despite being hungover– thought to herself, ‘yes, 24 rings true.’
I couldn’t wait for my turn. I was definitely done with age 23. However, as the nineteenth of November neared, I was beginning to feel blue. On the last day of age 23, I had an early dentist appointment which, with the horrendous traffic, took me an hour to get to. On top of the funk I was feeling, that ruined any chance of the day turning out well.
The last day of age 23 felt like the longest day of my life. The couch was my personal quicksand. Nostalgia sent prickly feelings up my nose and around the eyes all damn day. At one point, I found myself scrubbing my shoes in the kitchen sink, sobbing. Why the hell was I crying? Because life didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to? I was most definitely in a rut. I was dead under the covers before midnight struck.
Finally, it was morning. November nineteenth. I pulled the covers over my eyes, got out of bed, trudged into the bathroom, and took a good look at myself in the mirror.
Well. I looked like shit.
Boil water. Make tea. Normally it’d be coffee, but today I feel like something different. Sit down. Open laptop. Check email. Social media. Look at the time. Decide to take myself out.
It rains for the first time in ages. It is grey and drizzly. I walk through the streets of my neighborhood quickly. Left, right, left, straight ahead– there. I’ve never seen this place in broad daylight. Bound to be interesting. I enter the code. Green light flashes. Obligatory breath of relief (the code gets changed sometimes). I walk in and there’s no one there. Good.
Gingerly, I toe inside the wooden tub filled with steaming hot water. Part after body part, I am fully submerged in the heat and equal parts pain and pleasure come rushing at me. My body temperature rises and makes the pain more bearable. Eventually, pleasure takes over. Brain and body, amazing teamwork. Really.
A while later, the heat does get to me so I get out to cool off on one of the wooden platforms amongst the trees. I expect the wood to feel cold against my back when I lay down, but it doesn’t. It feels perfect. I look up at the sky behind the branches, leaves, and trunks towering above my nude flesh. (That I was spending my birthday in my birthday suit sort of amuses me.) Droplets of rain blur my vision as I think about getting older.
I wanted to start 24 off right. I decided to do it by thinking of all the lessons I had learned and would be taking with me from 23 to 24. So, I thought about it.
I learned that nothing is ever permanent and that change is the only constant. I learned that if you want to achieve happiness, you should tie it to goals, not to people or things (Einstein said that, smart guy). But I also learned that there’s nothing quite like the happiness a person can give you.
I learned that sometimes, to get your intuition attuned to the Universe, you simply need to ask it to pay attention. On the other hand, I learned that our brains see patterns when we look for it. But then again, the bias in our brains can tell you what the heart wants. I learned that listening to yourself is self-care.
I learned that I’ve learned nothing. I learned that life is one long experiment. With billions and zillions tiny sub-experiments. I learned to understand my Ego.
The last thing I learned from age 23 is: that it can hurt, but in the end it pays to be vulnerable and openhearted. This is what my roommate wrote to me, word for word. I learned that to mend a heart by filling it more is good advice. I learned that love is infinite.
And I learned that I know nothing.
Throughout the day, I kept getting asked what I was gonna do for my special day and I gave vague replies, but the truth is, I didn’t celebrate my 24th birthday.
I was too busy honoring my 23rd circle around the sun.