I turned 24 today. On Sunday we had a family celebration where my mom had arranged a beautiful plate of desert topped with two adorable numbered candles…2 and 3. My sister laughed and insisted of course she was wrong, I was turning 22! I delivered a glance that managed to telepathically deliver the correct answer to her mind, but not without a full expression of shock…”24?!”. Yes, well, I think we all felt that way…24?!

I’m the baby of the family, but the baby is now 24. So I guess we’re all old now. It’s an odd thing to celebrate an age like 24, so anticlimactic, and in a climactic year as this. It feels like a mirage to celebrate milestones when life feels every bit like a tub of molasses pouring out slowly on the table as it does a chaotic battle I can’t keep my eyes off of. It is a calendar year every bit fast as it is slow, and I believe only those who have lived through it will know the full truth of that seemingly contradictory statement.

But regardless, I am 24 now and quite obviously, I’d rather like to reflect on my insides this year than the chaotic molasses battle carrying on outside.

I’m quite proud of my insides. 23 was a year that stretched me. I learned the humbling art of disappointment and carrying on, heart ache and carrying on. I feel very much more like an adult than I did when I legally became one at 18, or when was legally granted the noble honor of alcohol consumption at 21. This isn’t the kind of birthday that “I can’t believe”…I very much feel that I’ve aged to 24, lived 24 years. This year, I feel as though I’ve arrived to adulthood- as we all do in our own timing. I just so happen to have been introduced to our trademark indications of adulthood before actually showing up myself- graduation, employment, investing, unemployment, employment again, grieving & heart ache, budgeting, learning, re-learning…you get it. And now that I’m here, I’m a little relieved- as though I just completed a turbulent landing from one land to another. I don’t know all that is ahead, but I’m sure as hell glad to be off that rickety little airplane that got me here.

I know there is more- more pain, more trouble, more expenses, more failures, more awkward conversations, more grief, more “I don’t want to’s”, more frustration, more confusion…I know there is much more ahead. But I do know this, quite confidently, that I will manage, and I will carry on- this past year of life has taught me that. And I might even become more kind, more open, more intelligent, more eloquent, more thoughtful, more grateful, more gracious, more talented, more able…I will manage, and I might even become more than what I’ve been. I do feel today, at this age of 24, old to some, and so young to others, that I’ve been tested, put through a bit of the fire, so that I might be here today at 24. Stronger in some places, achy in others, with a mind full of ideas, dreams and faith that have carried me through. I’ve survived some things I didn’t care to go through. I’ve performed better than I expected, and still I’ve been disappointed more than I’d have cared to be. This great act of getting up, I’m learning it’s beauty. It’s gotten me this far, into this 24 year old body I am quite grateful to be in today. It is a blessing to be 24 today, November 17, 2020.