In less than a week, I turn twenty-three.
Maybe it's my slight preference for odd numbers, or maybe it's my natural tendency to want to press fast-forward, but for some time now I've been looking forward to turning twenty-three.
I think somewhere in the middle of the last year I became so eager to turn twenty-three that I forgot I was twenty-two, forgot my own age. Once, when I was buying tickets for an R rated movie, the ticket clerk asked how old I was and for some reason I was caught off guard by the questions and accidentally told her I was twenty-one. Another time, I was ordering a beer with dinner and realized I had forgotten my ID. When I tried to explain, the waiter asked how old I was and I awkwardly fumbled over the question. He didn't serve me.
Twenty-two is an in-between age durning a transitional season of life. And if I've learned anything about how I react to transition over the past year, it's that I want to get out of it and move on as quickly as possible. I've felt both young and old at the same time and the juxtaposition of it all has thrown me off.
At this age, I am old enough to have graduated college, landed a job (or two), moved across the world, and learned how to successfully live in a big (foreign) city on my own. I've also found that I am the same age as my co-worker's children (or grand children), can't fall asleep past midnight out of habit, justify going out on weeknights, and can get away with painting my nails neon pink.
At twenty-two, I am young enough to be certain of everything, and old enough to be sure of absolutely nothing. I am young enough to let my parents take care of me, and old enough to consider them as friends. I am young enough to believe that anything is possible, and old enough to make that belief a reality.
At twenty-two I am restless, I am hopeful, I am impatient, I am naive.
I just finished the book, Tuesdays With Morrie, and I read something last week that resonated with me.
"Mitch, I embrace aging."
"It's simple. As you grow, you learn more. If you stayed at twenty-two, you'd always be as ignorant as you were at twenty-two. Aging is not just decay, you know. It's growth…"
Yes, I said, but if aging were so valuable, why do people always say, "Oh, if I were young again." You never hear people say, "I wish I were sixty-five."
He smiled. "You know what that reflects? Unsatisfied lives. Unfulfilled lives. Lives that haven't found meaning. Because if you've found meaning in your life, you don't want to go back. You want to go forward. You want to see more, do more. You can't wait until sixty-five."
You see, I want to go forward. I want to see more, do more. I can't wait for what's yet to come, I have so much learning to do and experiences to be had.
I realize, of course, that turning twenty-three won't suddenly grant me wisdom or refine my character, but it does present an opportunity for growth. Every day presents an opportunity for growth, and I believe wholeheartedly in using time wisely. Intentionally.
And so, in light of my birthday I've created a bucket list for the upcoming year: Twenty-three things to do before I'm twenty-four (and here it is).
1. do something I said I've always wanted to do
2. fill out 5: Where Will You Be Five Years from Today?
3. worship God every Sunday
4. paint something for someone else
5. do something I said I would never do
6. run a 5k
7. write an "About Me" section for my blog/twitter/intragram
8. take a yoga class
9. go skiing
10. throw a party
11. go wine tasting
12. print off, organize, and store college papers/documents
13. visit Colorado
14. go on a picnic
15. develop a budget and live by it
16. organize a weekend get together with friends
17. take a cooking class
18. do (at least) three monthly photo challenges
19. learn something new
20. visit Kaitlin & Perry more than once
21. paint something for myself
22. send Kat a care package
23. write hand written letters and send snail mail
I'll write and reflect and post pictures along the way!