The past few years, I’ve hated birthdays. I’ve never been sure why, but I think I finally figured it out: I am averse to change, and birthdays are an ultimate marker of change. I just think about what I looked like two years ago today on my birthday when I got a very drastic haircut:
Compared to what I look like now:
I feel like a completely different person than I was two years ago. And I think in a lot of ways I am. I’ve been through so much, good and bad, that has altered me both genetically and emotionally. I have:
+ Fallen in love
+ Had my heart broken
+ Graduated from college
+ Lived by myself
+ Moved around like a nomad
+ Been unemployed for half a year
+ Gotten my first real adult job
It’s a lot to process, and it feels like the weight of the world. And I think another thing that I dislike about birthdays is that it reminds me how small and insignificant I am in the context of the universe and of time. It’s like, I’ve been alive for 23 years, which seems like a long time to me, but then I think about how long the world has been around (like a 23 years times a billion!) and it makes me depressed that the course of my life is so transient, just a flash in the pan. And I feel like, because my life is just a speck on the timeline of the world, I will never make a difference or be able to do anything extraordinary. It’s an annual existential crisis.
But when I bring it down from 11 and think on a smaller scale, there are things that I can do that can give me a taste of the extraordinary. Which is why I’ve made a list of 23 things I want to do in my 23rd year.
It’s kind of like New Year’s resolutions, but instead of the focus being on curbing my behavior (i.e. quitting smoking, stop drinking coffee, be less sarcastic, etc.), this list emphasizes action, taking initiative and doing. I want to cross out everything on this list by my next birthday and I think it’s all within my reach. I’m excited to have a motivator in the form of this list that will be staring me in the face every single day. I have a feeling this is going to be a good 23rd year.