There are certain traditions I keep when it comes to blogphilic, and writing about turning a year older is one of them (see: twenty-two – I’ve made the older ones private!). I am not yet at that age or stage where I loathe turning a year older, and I honestly hope I never will. I like to transition with grace and openness to the ch-ch-changes, mistakes, happiness, and everything that have made the past year worth reminiscing upon. How well did I live in the past one year? Did I do justice to the time I’ve been granted and lived a life worth telling many, many moons from now?
I like to think that turning a year older is akin to shedding old skin, as if I’ve lived a year’s worth well enough to earn a shiny, new stripe in replacement. I think I did well with twenty-two; I lived fully, and learned countless powerful lessons along the way. There was senior spring, which was so much fun. Then those offers from grad school came, with the dream school a-calling. Funding came through at just the nick of time like a miracle, and so I graduated with my first degree believing the world was literally my oyster. Summer was a blast – lots of traveling, just as I always like it, and many more days spent doing absolutely nothing. Crystal clear happiness.
Although grad school turned out to be nothing like I’d foolishly imagined and 2013 wrapped up quietly, thankfully I am still ending twenty-two on a high note. Things are looking up on all fronts whether academically, personally, and whatever else and as I am writing this, I’m feeling ridiculously happy at the recent turn-of-events in my life.
Most memorable lessons I’ve picked up along the way, with bruised pride and a humbled soul as tradeoffs?
1: You’ve got to go through the fire, to find out what victory tastes like.
2: You’ve got to rummage through the dark and lose yourself, in order to learn what you’re made of.
3: You’ve got to be challenged, in order to grow.
4: You’ve got to experience firsthand your lowest point yet, so that you remain humble.
5: You’ve got to remember that the future is unpredictable, change is inevitable, and the present is now.
6: You’ve got to learn to make your life’s worth count.
As a closing ode to twenty-two, the year that held me close and kept me swimming along, despite the turbulent waves – thank you, honest to God thank you for such a meaningful year, undoubtedly my best yet.
Twenty-three on the twenty-third, it is finally here! Rejoice! It is once in a lifetime and trust me when I say that I’ve counted down to this since forever – it’s crazy to realize it is here and now. It’s crazy to realize I am turning twenty-three while at Stanford, of all places, and that I am headed to Hawaii tomorrow, a dream holiday spot. It’s embarrassing to be this ridiculously excited over my –
Oh my god, so while I was in the midst of writing this, my friends here just surprised me with a homemade cake and personally chosen card! Three great girls who revealed themselves as my anchors for the past six months. I do not have a large number of friends but I definitely have the sweetest friends, I swear, and I am so incredibly blessed to cross paths with wonderful people everywhere that I’ve been to. What a blessing, truly and sincerely. I… am out of words now, plus I really need to sleep since the flight’s bright and early, so you know what? I’m just gonna sign off with this:
Twenty-three, you will be awesome. I can feel it with my mind, heart, soul – everything.
You are the books you read, the film you watch, the music you listen to, the people you meet, the dreams you have, the conversations you engage in. You are what you take from these. You are the sound of the ocean, the breath of fresh air, the brightest light and the darkest corner. You are a collective of every experience you have had in your life. You are every single second of every single day. So drown yourself in a sea of knowledge and existence. Let the words run through your veins and let the colors fill your mind until there is nothing left to do but explode. There are no wrong answers. Inspiration is everything. Sit back, relax, and take it all in.
Now go out and create something.
– Jac Vanek