Here I am, sitting on a boat in the middle of the Snake River in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, fly fishing, on my last day as a 23 year old. And yes, I am fishing... it’s just not my turn at the moment. Looking back, for me, 23 has been a weird age. They call you an adult, but at least for me, I haven’t always felt like an adult. I started 23 in a new place, with no people, doing new things because that’s what you do when you graduate college, which I had just done prior to my 23rd birthday! I remember this time last year feeling hopeful, excited, and stressed (lol). Today, I kind of feel that same way, but in another way I feel completely different.
We all face trials and tribulations in our life (I have not been shy about mine) and as I look back on the past year, I am reminded of the challenges that I faced and I am relieved at how I handled them. I can speak for many of us when I say, the first year out of school, paving your own way is nothing shy of difficult. Meeting new people, feeling alone, feeling left out, wishing you were better understood, laying awake at night wondering about the future and what it holds, worrying if you are in the right place / doing the right things, learning new things professionally, living your life in the fast lane (both literally & figuratively), wanting to fall in love and wondering why you aren’t, missing your friends, and feeling disheveled. That is how I would describe 23: disheveled. You can be super happy, but still live in a state of dishevelment.
I have joked this whole year that I lived in my car, but truthfully, I have at times. I am constantly packing and unpacking a bag. Most of the time I don’t stay in the same place more than one night in a row. The amount of sweat I have shed from carrying bags up and down the stairs of my parents house (i am not a light packer) just makes me mad thinking about it... Again, disheveled!
In addition, at age 23 social media has been a BIG issue for me. I feel like people
don’t talk about it regularly because on Instagram you have to be perfect, right? I used to not care about social media, likes, comments, etc. at all (which is how I imagine you feel when i’m talking about it) and when I wasn’t caring was the best. I used to get an average of 300 likes. In the past year, i’m lucky if I reach 300. It’s usually more around 100. I can understand that this might not be an issue for you, but if you were to tell there has never been a time you felt insecure or self conscious while using sites like Instagram, I’d give you a trophy because that seems almost impossible in this day and age. The real reasons those numbers have changed, I believe is because Instagram changed it’s algorithm (long story) and those who get the most comments regularly are shown first in your newsfeed. I am imagining some of you are feeling a sigh of relief to learn this info. It’s not YOU. However, even though I know this, it’s often hard for me to remember that. Instead, I think it’s because no one likes me / cares what i’m doing, or because my edit & photo wasn’t the best. It’s honestly ridiculous and I hate feeling that way. Sorry to all of you who I regularly complain to about the gram. Did you know Instagram is getting rid of likes because people are suing them in relation to mental health issues? Again, it’s not talked about enough!
(my soapbox is over)
I wanted to share those things to then share that in-spite of a hard adjustment year, these hard times did not affect me the way they would have in the past. A few years ago, I could have easily seen myself having some type of breakdown or being in a state of depression. However, not present day, not at 23. I faced challenges and felt hurt, but that only showed my growth and how my strength has grown in momentum with me. It’s ironic and maybe I am not writing it well, but no matter what happened this year, I was able to look in the mirror and know I was loved and know that I am strong... I think if I can do that for the rest of my life, the age 23 will have given me a wonderful gift.
I’ll think back and remember all the laughs while living with my aunt and uncle. I’ll remember working for two badass women in a male dominated industry. I’ll be transported back to the multiple times I saw Taylor Swift in concert during the Reputation Stadium tour and the inspiration that came from that. I’ll remember the advice my Dad gave and the work ethic he displayed. I’ll look back fondly on starting a podcast with the ultimate hype women in the world and how doing that helped me learn more about the passions I have + the things I love. I’ll never forget seeing Bohemian Rhapsody alone in theaters the day Saturation launched, and walking out feeling like I could conquer the world. I won’t forget the many markets I traveled to with my Mom and how her professionalism is eye opening. I’ll remember being around for all of my brothers senior high school activities and realizing that was an answered prayer. I won’t forget the sibling trip Madison and I planned, which brought me so much joy. I’ll always cherish falling in love with my high school best friends all over again.
The list could go on and on. Truth is, I’ll forget a lot of things and hopefully I’ll remember even more! However, it’s the feeling from this year that will never leave me. My goal for 24 is to not care what others think and with that dismiss the innate ability I have to please everyone around me. It sounds cliché, but it’s what currently gets in the way of me living my best life. This year was not bad... that’s not what i am saying. I am saying it challenged me in ways I hadn’t expected and because of that, I am thankful. Well... it’s my turn to fish now. Lots of fish to be caught today & lots to be caught in my new year, get it? 24, I’ll see you soon!
Southern and Thankful
p.s. I just finished Busy Philipps book "This Will Lonely Hurt A Little" (after writing this blog). I have been trying to finish this book for almost a year now and just read the last page in the final hour of my 23rd year and I fee like I can conquer the world. I haven't felt this way since seeing Bohemian Rhapsody last year (see about reference). Coincidence? I think not😉 24, let's chase those dreams!
Blessed is an understatement when it comes to my life. Each and every day I am amazed by God's steadfast love. In return, I have claimed this space to show my thanks and whatever else comes along the way. A recent graduate from Texas Christian University who loves any creative insta post, all donuts, and dress pants that make you do a double take. I pray God has a grand purpose for me and I plan to get there with a little Southern and a lot of Thanks! Join me!