27

Not only is today Thanksgiving, but it also so happens to be my birthday. I’ve been overseeing this WordPress blog for nearly five years now. That’s five years of memories, five years of storytelling.

When I look back at the things that I’ve written about, I’m always surprised at how quickly it takes me back to that moment. I think that’s why I love writing so much. It’s one of the closest things you can get to an actual time machine. Photographs and videos may serve the same purpose, but with writing, it’s your own words; your own version of a story that you are telling to yourself and to other people.

This year, and this month in particular, in addition to my five years of WordPress writing, I also celebrate five years of living in New York City. It’s especially meaningful to me because I’ve found this past year to be the most transformative.

When I was in college, I remember watching a documentary in a Psychology class about a study where these Psychologists chose a select group of children and followed up with them every seven years until adulthood in order to examine how much they have changed over time. In science, and in psychology, it’s theorized that we as humans drastically develop every seven years. If that’s true, then I sure am interested to see who I become in my next wave of development.

As I celebrate this five-year milestone, this half decade of living in this city, I also acknowledge how far I’ve come and how much I have changed (and not changed). As of now, there are two things that have drastically changed, but also somehow stayed the same. These things are my job and my boyfriend.

I recently started a new job at the first company that I ever worked for upon graduating college and moving into the city. Similarly, about a year ago, I got back together with the first person that I ever fell in love with.

It’s a curious thing to go back to something of which you are already familiar, yet have a completely different experience.

There’s a quote that I really admire. It goes,

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”

In five years, I’ve experienced many things, I’ve met many people, lived in different apartments, had many jobs, encountered great joy and great sadness. And through all this, I have still come back to where I started.

It’s amazing that despite everything that has happened, through so much change, I am inherently the same. Going back to that study that I watched in college, maybe it’s not necessarily the person I am that has changed, but instead, the way I look at life. Maybe, it’s less about the actual changes and more about the maturity through all of it.

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What Matters Most

I write a lot about growing up. That’s because ever since I was little, I’ve always been in such a rush to be older. I remember following my sister and her friends around when I was a kid and I just couldn’t wait to be old enough to hang out with them. Now that I’m older, it’s funny how it works in reverse. As you get older, you want to gain all those years back that you wanted to skip ahead to.

I spend a lot of my time around people of different age groups and it always fascinates me to talk to them about their experiences and hear their opinions on life. And regardless of age, everyone always experiences things at different stages of their lives. Some of us are wise beyond our years and some of us continue to resist maturity.

Now that I am where I am, I’d finally like to slow down and take advantage of the time that I have while I have it.

When you’re younger, it seems like things take so much longer to happen – Getting your license, being able to legally drink, graduating college, finding a job, etc. But once you’ve crossed all of those things off your list, there’s a realization that you start running out of things that you have to wait for in order to happen.

What I’ve learned throughout my twenties so far is that I’m much more capable of distinguishing between the things are a big deal and the things that are not. I’m able to recognize what really matters in life and what I shouldn’t get so worked up about.

After I turned 25, I can’t emphasize enough how much of a significant shift there was in my mindset. After losing love, losing jobs, losing friends, I’m less upset about the losses and more grateful for the gains and the people who are still sticking by my side. I’m realizing that my family is one of the most important of things in my life. I’m realizing that you shouldn’t fight so hard for people who won’t fight for you. I’m realizing that the time you are given is precious and it shouldn’t be wasted on people or things that do not fill you up with joy.

Recently, I keep thinking back to the time when I was in the hospital at the age of 20 and diagnosed with Chrohn’s Disease due to my own self-induced stress. I look back and wonder how and why I allowed myself to get stressed over things that I can hardly even remember to this day.

There’s a certain peace that comes with age and maturity that I’ve truly come to appreciate – And that peace lies within knowing yourself and what you want out of your life. I can now say with full honesty that I’m discovering the kind of person I want to be and the kind of life I want to lead. I thank God for that and I thank the people who are closest to me for supporting all of the decisions I have made leading up to this day.

24

As I’m skimming through the many blog posts from my 23rd year of life, I’m noticing a pattern from where I was a year ago.

I re-read my entry from last year, “23 ” and I’m seeing that life really does come full circle in just a span of a year. I’ve faced almost identical hardships when I was 22 as I did when I was 23. Oddly enough, these similar hardships occurred at similar times during a particular season. I can only assume that this will continue in the years to come.

Similar to last year, the month of November has been nothing short of chaotic. In a single month, I’ve managed to start another new job (yet again), move into another new apartment (yet again), run the 2014 New York City Marathon, perform two shows with my band, and be in a relationship. I’ve always loved Autumn because it poses these opportunities for transformation. I suppose this may be why I’m so adaptive of change, being that my birthday falls in Autumn.

Another year has passes and I’m now 24. Honestly, I’ve never been so glad to say goodbye to a year.

I realize that I write about the same topics over and over again. I always question myself, asking why I repeatedly end up in identical hardships year after year. However, I can say this: Slowly, but surely, I am changing. Little by little, I am getting better at dealing with life. I am getting better at handling difficult situations. I am getting better at preparing myself for the worst. I am getting better at being adult (kind of)

I’m really looking forward to what 24 has in store for me. I look forward to experiencing more wonderful memories as well as hardships. Not all of 23 was as horrifying as I made it seem to be. There were many positive events and accomplishments that came with that age. Yet, I know that with every up also comes a down. It’s just all about holding on and enjoying the ride.

Here’s to 24.

The Relevance of Age

To preface this entry (as I usually do), I have to say that I generally prefer not to write about people from my personal life- especially in a public space such as WordPress where they can easily find that I have written about them.

But, in order to make my point, I have to introduce this individual (who will remain UN-named) so that you can see the bigger picture.

Here it goes:

I recently ended things with a guy that I had been dating for approximately 2 months. I met him in mid-December and broke things off shortly after Valentine’s Day (ironic, I know)

His major qualm between the two of us was our age difference and to be honest, there wasn’t much of a difference at all. He’s 26 and I’m 22. From my own personal experiences, I’ve noticed that after the age of 21, people within the 20’s age-group are all pretty much in the same playing field. We’re all lost, searching for ourselves, etc. etc.

Now back to this guy…

It always irritated me at how concerned he was about the fact that I’m 22 and had just graduated college. He insisted that I still had so much to learn and so many experiences to face, which I can’t disagree with. I definitely still have a lot to learn and experience. I, on the other hand, believed that despite that one, tiny factor of age, we generally saw eye-to-eye on most things.

This may be an exaggeration, but it seemed that any time that I contributed my opinion on a serious topic, he would practically remit my contribution and insist that I still have “so much growing up to do”. And this was usually only whenever he didn’t like what I had to say.

I hated that.

Now here’s another piece of information…

My ex-boyfriend whom I dated for 3 years was his exact same age- their birthdays were actually only several weeks apart- and he never once, critiqued our relationship based on our age difference. This was also because I had far surpassed him in maturity levels.

I don’t want to sound like a young, naive, narcissistic 20-something year old who thinks that she has it all figured out, but I will say that I actually am mature for my age (at least far more mature than a majority of my friends) I’m proud of myself for how much I have accomplished as well as the life experiences that have been bestowed upon me to make me the person I am today. I was fortunate enough to graduate college in 4 years as well as get a job right out of college- even more so, a job at my favorite magazine of all time, Runner’s World. And this did not just happen because of luck, of course. I worked hard throughout college and had a great internship. I’m also a driven and self-motivated individual.

Now getting back to my point about the guy that I dated…

It’s safe to say that I was often discouraged to give my feedback on a situation whenever I talked to him because I felt that my opinion would immediately be dismissed.

I felt like an elementary-school student whose teacher would harshly tell them that they are wrong after enthusiastically answering a question.

This really made me question my credibility as an opinionated person.

But then I thought, it’s my opinion. There shouldn’t be a right or wrong, nor should it be heavily correlated to my age.

And so, the moral of this story is this:

Everyone has an opinion. It’s neither right nor wrong. It’s just how a person feels about a certain topic or scenario. Everyone experiences different things at different times. The relevance of age is that it is irrelevant. Someone may experience flying on an airplane at the age of 50, while another person has been flying on planes since birth. Experiences make up the things that we are familiar with and they shape our opinions. I’m not saying that age should be completely thrown out the window when it comes to wisdom though. I completely respect my elders and am always willing to take advice from them. As you grow older, you do gain more wisdom and insight towards life, but when it comes to dating, a 4-year age difference when you are in your 20’s really means nothing.

The verdict: Age is irrelevant.