Reflections on Twenty-Three

As a Cancer (yes, just jumping right into zodiac signs) I spend a good majority of my life reminiscing. Childhood memories are my most cherished possessions, time with my loved ones is the greatest gift, and I will forever be a nostalgic weeping willow. I don’t however, spend a lot of time thinking about my birthday. I find that birthdays are loaded, with expectations (which can lead to disappointment), the fear and anxiety of growing older, and pressure to feel some type of way about the year you’re leaving behind.

A practice I started doing a few years ago, pretty informally, was making a list of goals or things on my birthday that I’d like to pursue in the coming year. This list is usually made up of some measurable concrete goals and some abstract goals. Most often, I write the list, and don’t return to it regularly. Something about it this feels very law of attraction-y. Nevertheless, I just try to keep growing. As my 23rd year comes to a close, I returned to the list I created a year ago, and here’s how I fared.

23 Goals for my 23rd Year

In no particular order: 

  • Focus on food as a source of nourishment 
  • Be financially conscious, pay off credit card every month and stick to a budget
  • Take time for myself when I need it 
  • Watch the series and movies on my list(s)
  • Call home more often and text my friends in far places more often 
  • Write snail mail letters to friends, send postcards 
  • Write, find publishing opportunities 
  • Read more often – choose it over TV! 
  • Love my body for being strong and able 
  • Take inventory and open new spaces (mental + physical)
  • Paint and draw regularly (practice makes perfect, or at least, better)
  • Make a new playlist every month 
  • Say yes to happy hours and get togethers
  • Reply to text messages (+emails) in a timely manner 
  • Facetime friends more often 
  • Communicate early and often 
  • Dress up for work and going out 
  • Change my hair, let go 
  • Take myself on solo dates around the city
  • Buy flowers (+ a vase) 
  • Don’t say “no” because I’m tired
  • Take a vacation (I planned one, but, COVID)

This year was a hard one, specifically mental health-wise. When I made this list a year ago I had no idea what challenges laid in front of me. I didn’t expect myself to complete everything on this list, I’m not Wonder Woman after all,but I’m pretty damn proud of some of the things I did do. I chopped my hair off, long hair is a security blanket, (if you know, you know). I pushed myself to become a better communicator, I’m not perfect, but I try to respond to messages within a day at most. And most importantly, I found myself saying yes to the things that I usually would say no to.

Now I’m off to write a new list, here’s to 23.

x A

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