32

I turned 32 in September. I would bemoan getting older, but the truth is that that number actually seems quite small. It feels as though I have lived a decade’s worth of experiences in the past few years, so when I hear myself telling someone I am thirty-two years old, it comes as a surprise every time. Really? That’s it? Holy shit, I’ve got my whole life ahead of me!

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I find it helpful to chunk ideas together, categorizing incoming information into different buckets that make sense in the context of the world as I currently know it. I do this in the form of the Notes app on my phone, or a blog post draft on a particular topic where I accumulate relevant links, quotes, and other tidbits. I often start to see patterns emerge, whether it’s because I’m already looking for them or because there are usually more people than I’d realized who are already studying or talking about particular concepts that are new to me.

When I turned 30, I wrote a blog post about some truths I had learned thus far in my thirty years of life. I return to it occasionally, and everything in it still holds true. Then 31 happened…and now I’m 32. So much has changed in the past couple years, and yet so much has remained the same. Hell, sometimes I look back at blog posts from six, seven years ago and can’t believe how many of the thoughts and ideas I have now are still the same as when I was in my mid-twenties, living across the country, and just truly starting to dream about what my adult life could be. But that’s probably what most of us would find if we journaled every day and then went back to read our entries a decade later. The one person we can never escape from is ourself.

Anyway. Below are some wandering thoughts on what I’ve learned and what I’m thinking about as I begin my thirty-third year of life.

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:: The work is never done. Most people are incredibly resistant to change, and yet change is one of the only things on which we can depend. Just when I’ve feel like I’ve worked through one situation, another comes along, and then another after that. That’s just how life works. What would we be but shells of ourselves if this wasn’t the case? I seek contentment, but not in lieu of being in constant flux, learning about myself and the world, and living it up in the mess of what that brings.

:: Life is short. A cliché, yes, but dear god have I gained an acute awareness of this in the past year. Disease, freak accidents - they happen, and we don’t have control of how/if/when they will come about. Tomorrow is not a guarantee. Sometimes this knowledge leaves me feeling dizzyingly anxious, panicked that I could die tomorrow even though I haven’t yet done anything meaningful with my life. At other times, it fills me with extreme YOLO vibes, allowing me to get out, to DO, to not wait for a “later” that might never come. I’m still learning how to balance those two extremes; to go on adventures but still be responsible, to be content with my life as it is but move past feeling paralyzed and work towards something better. I want life in every word to the extent that it’s absurd, sings The Postal Service. I feel this every day.

:: I am privileged. And it is a sign of that very privilege that it has taken me this long to get to a point of fully acknowledging what that means, and then grappling with how to not take it for granted. How to use it for good. It’s something I’m still figuring out. Also: the ability to safely take time and mull the topic over is a privilege.

:: Sometimes you don’t get closure, and that’s okay. I used to have full-blown panic attacks if I didn’t have the opportunity to explain myself, in detail, after I made a mistake or was misunderstood. Unfinished business made me queasy. I have now embraced the art of letting things go (most of the time - no one’s perfect). What I know to be the truth is enough.

:: I enjoy my own company. This is what freedom feels like.

:: I might never stop being restless. Help.

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Cheers to the next year of life.