What I've learned at 23
My 23rd year around the sun will come to an end this Wednesday, October 19th.
When standing in the frame of my bathroom mirror sometime last week, I thought, “Have I learned anything at 23?”
A simple yet kind of hefty question, indeed—had I learned anything at 23?
The answer? Well, I don’t have a distinct answer… I think.
I think my answer is that… I think I’ve learned that no matter the age I am and the time that’s gone by, I’m always going to be in a foundational part of my life—and I think this theme of “foundation,” will always be changing.
I’m not entirely sure what that means, it kind of feels like a given, honestly—the idea of themes and those themes changing throughout one’s life… but I do think the notion of it strays away from societal “check-marks” of what one supposedly learns at one age and so forth.
At first, I wasn’t sure what I learned. I lived another year, thankfully, but what did I learn?
Despite having different types of celebrations as a kid, some with family, some with friends, and some surprise moments I’d relive again—I’ve never placed a lot of emphasis on my birthday; kind of how I’ve never placed a lot of emphasis on the new year. They’re both symbolic in some way, to some people, for various reasons—but I think this is why I’ve never placed much emphasis on “new’s” or “next’s.” I feel like my brain is always moving towards or away from those things, anyways, so there’s never been a distinctive moment in my life that I knew was going to be distinctive until after the fact.
I think I've learned that it’s ok to not have a definitive answer to anything, ever, for any reason. I’ve always known this, but it’s one of those “easier said than done” scenarios, especially for where I am thus far in life.
I’m saying “foundational” because, as I said, I don’t have a definitive answer to this question—and I think that’s the point of learning in general, and reflecting on what one has learned. The way we learn and what we learn is always going to entail different methods of insight, adaptation, reflection etc., even when one is not fully aware of it.
Everyone always says how your 20’s is a weird place to be, which yeah, sure, I’m not going to lie, it is weird. It’s weird that I am this “fully functioning adult” when just a few years behind me, there’s kids being kids in today’s day and age thinking about what it’d be like to be me, a “fully functioning adult.”
We’re all always going to be children; naive to the unknown. It’d be cool if we could all maintain the unbiased nature most children possess before being introduced to a plethora of things in that thing we call life—but that’s not how life works.
I feel like my 20’s to my 30’s will be just as weird as my 30’s to my 40’s, 40’s to my 50’s and so on. I’m kinda tired of seeing sure-fire “What I learned in my __’s” lists—not because they aren’t true or helpful to the individual, but because they act as a way of coping for those who are in said decade, rather than being a reiteration and reassurance that no one actually knows what they’re doing—even if they do—and that’s what makes life interesting.
Like I said, I don’t have a definitive answer to what I learned at 23. I’m sure some years I’ll have a definitive answer that has to do with the in’s and out’s of tropes associated with said age, but what I do know after writing this, is that by not knowing, I am growing.
Here’s to 24 ;)
Thank you for reading.
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