I shared this a while back on my personal social media accounts, more of a personal essay than anything else. In light of the negativity that my fellow “20 somethings” often hear about our generation, I’ve decided to share this with you guys, in hopes that it can be of help to you, regardless of what age you are, or a help to someone you know.
Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking that you are supposed to have life completely figured out every step of the way. We will be learning and experiencing at every point in our lives, so why not enjoy the ride.
I took the picture associated with this pulse, on Frenchman Street, in the city of my heart, New Orleans.
Written the morning of October 11th, 2017
Royal Street, Just outside the French Quarter/Vieux Carré
New Orleans, Louisiana
I, quite recently, turned 25. I remember waking up the morning of my birthday and for the first time, in a long time, actually feeling older and different. I was in New Orleans at the time, alone, and I was having the time of my life. So I’ve been excited to turn 25, as many may know, mostly because I can say “I’m a quarter of a century years old” (corny, I know) and so I could finally say I could independently get a rental car. However, there’s more to it than that. 25, though being an odd number, has some ethereal symmetry to it. It’s a true mile marker, at least to me. I believe many others would agree, as it is in 25-year increments that anniversary jubilees are celebrated for Kings and Queens and for married couples.
Traditionally, the precious metal silver is assigned to 25th anniversaries. This makes sense and is fitting. Because in 25 years, you learn a lot. Whether it’s about yourself, your mate, life, or the world. Like silvers self-purifying qualities, 25 years allow you time to refine yourself, or at least they should. After 25 years, you should know who you truly are, although that’s not the case for many. But I am digressing........
I have these 3 small black journals that chronicle my life for the last 10 years, from age 15 to today, at age 25. I wrote in these journals faithfully, though not always regularly or daily. There are 4 and 6-month gaps in some parts. When I started the first one, I called it “El Libro de Los sueños” translated from Spanish it means “The book of dreams” (I was adamantly studying Spanish at the time and was in love with how things sounded in Spanish).
Within these “tomes” I mentioned my hopes and dreams. My fears and frustrations. My fantasies and childish desires. I told myself, keep these and you can look back and see from where you’ve. Write down your mistakes and you will only make them once (I wish! Lol). I wrote down ideas for movies and books and my plans for the future. How by 27 I would have a doctorate in something and be “financially secure” (oh how much I’ve grown and matured since then).
In 10 years, there is a great deal that has changed and a few basic things that have not. I still hate American cheese with a passion and ketchup too. In all my life, green has yet to cease being my favorite color. I still, daily, in fact, imagine things that could not and will never be. I’ve developed this dislike for congested crowds and places. My type A side has shown its head more, but still not more than my curious and social side. I still have a fondness for books and places that house them. I still believe that impossible things can happen and know that terrible things can as well.
I’ve gone from ignorant ambitions to being desirous for a more simple life, free from unnecessary attachments to the wreck of a cesspool that is the majority of human society.
The world doesn’t shine so brightly, or at least not as frequently as it didn’t when I was younger. Though, I’ve learned to find an inexhaustible joy that has protected me from bringing overwhelmed by darkness and despair. Despite all the darkness in the world, I can’t stop being in love with the things, experiences, and people that make life worthwhile.
In the past 10 years, I’ve gone to thinking I can have anything I want to coming to the realization that there are some things that I will never have, and I’ve come to terms with that. I am not afraid of what I can’t have. I’m not afraid to say “that won’t happen for me”. I learned that I can do so much more, on my own, than many would imagine, but also that I don’t have to always be stubbornly independent. I’ve learned I can conquer dragons and face mountains. I still want to change the world, but I’ve learned to change the world, it doesn’t have to mean everyone knowing your name or what you did. Sometimes changing the world starts with a small movement and gesture in a small system, but that one leads to others being inspired to make a difference.
I’ve never dated or been in a serious romantic relationship. I’ve been indulgent and selfish with sharing me and I’ve been ok with that. I solidified that I love myself and that I can be enough on my own. I’ve battled with thinking romance was a weakness, that it asks us to sacrifice too much, and that romance could tear you apart worse than any monster you could dream up. I’ve come to realize that I was like everyone else, that I was not different and not special. Just like everyone else, I loved the thought of love, I realized that many of my favorite songs are about love, and that’s it’s ok to love. I’ve learned that I can admire romantic love, even if I chose not to pursue it for myself.
In 25 years, I like to imagine I’ve erected, but one of many pillars to come in my life. Of course, I there are lessons I still must learn. Self-patience and contentment, for example, are things that I must work on every day, among many other things.
However, what I can say at the end of the day, on October 11th, 2017, is that these 25 years have been wonderful, enchanting, maddening, eye-opening, and thrilling at the same time. I have lived to see the turn of the century and all the changes that have shook society since then. I came of age in a time of wonder and innovation, a time of rocking foundations. I have lived a full life, thus far, and have plenty of that beautiful thing called hope, for the ever-approaching future.