I’m not your typical New Year’s Resolution kind of gal. I can’t remember the last time the change in the year’s ending number has motivated me to do much of anything . . . other than dress up in something sparkly and have an over-the-top night celebrating with friends and too much champagne. For many, it’s a great starting point to better themselves by way of health, education, work, love, etc. But I’d like to see an end-of-the-year review on whether or not that bettering actually stuck.
I found that when I put these hard start and end dates on my goals, I was more disappointed in all that I hadn’t accomplished, rather than focusing on all that I had. That’s why these past few years have instead been an accumulation of praise for myself. It’s recapping all the remarkable things that happened and taking into consideration the bad things that did as well, but coming to the wonderful conclusion that I had survived another year on earth, and at the end of the day I am proud of myself. Then it’s taking all of that personal data and putting it to good use.
So, you didn’t get that job. Why did that happen? What can you do this year so that next time around, the job is yours?
Or maybe . . . Look at you, you got the job! Now, what can you do to be successful in it so that a year from now, you can consider the possibility of a raise or a promotion?
Typically, this yearly review falls around the time of my birthday. But luckily for me, June 7 this year was a whirlwind of excitement, love, and activity, and I didn’t really have a chance to sit back and reflect on twenty-three. So, here I am. A month later, I’m taking the time to remember all the great things that occurred as well as all the hardships I got through, and then look ahead to what I’m hoping I can accomplish with this fresh new age.
Looking back, chapter twenty-three of my life was a roller-coaster (as cliché as the saying is), full of the highest highs, the lowest lows, and a couple of twists and turns along the way. Like the start of many years, I began on a high. My twenty-third birthday was one of my best, with a celebration that knocked the socks off anything I had done previously. Over seventy (se. ven. ty. !!!!) of my friends from past and present came together to help me ring in this rather insignificant number. I can honestly say I had never felt so completely loved and appreciated. And this high lasted throughout the summer.
Those warm few months brought me so much happiness, whether it was landing my current job as an Associate Copywriter which truly allowed me to dive into a career in writing, or finally moving into my own place with a roommate I had met in the “real world” who was quickly becoming a best friend. I was in Orange County, a place I had dreamed about living since I was in my early teens (thanks to MTV’s Laguna Beach). I had a savings account that was growing, not shrinking. It seemed like my early adult life was beginning to take off, full steam ahead.
And then I stalled. Things fell into a routine. This was, by no means, a bad thing. The plateau just came a bit quicker than I expected. Life was becoming eerily similar to everything I had experienced before, and that kind of scared me.
I didn’t wait to make plans that would shake things up. I flew into Chicago and surprised a best friend from college; I spent a weekend with high school friends in brilliant New York; I celebrated the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017 in Vegas with a tight-knit gang from LMU. And then there was Austin.
I fell in love. (And for the record, I’m talking about the city, not a boy.) Austin made me feel totally, completely alive again. It was a long weekend trip with some of the people I admire most — my college roommates — and even though we were only there for three full days, I was on the verge of tears the entire way back to the airport. The city was unexpected, which is why I think I fell in love so hard and fast. It put me back on a high.
I began my job hunt immediately when I returned. And you know how the saying goes . . . for every high there’s a low. So began the lowest times of twenty-three.
It makes you feel quite inferior to want something so badly and to continuously be told no. No. No. No. The word was becoming too familiar, too constant. It wasn’t the first time Austin had rejected me. But it stung a bit more the second time around. I was so convinced that it was where I needed to be, where I was meant to be. And the fact that I couldn’t figure out how to get there put a strain on who I was.
Those couple of months challenged me mentally. I was no longer happy, carefree Marissa and was instead a shadow of who I used to be. Luckily, I realized that, and I wanted to change it. I talked to my roommate and then I talked to my mom. I admitted I was feeling weak and sorry for myself. And trust me, it wasn’t easy to admit, but saying it out loud really, truly helped me work through it. My perspective shifted, and my return uphill began again.
Twenty-three was a far cry from what I was expecting it to be. But I learned a lot about myself and how strong I was. It was a crucial year for me, realizing what I could get through alone and knowing when I needed to ask for a little bit of help. That was a huge lesson and a huge growth that I’m so incredibly glad to have been able to work through. And at the end of the day, I’m still really proud of myself.
Chapter twenty-four is already shaping up to be something else entirely. Another large celebration started things off on an incomparable high. If it was possible, this birthday left me feeling more loved and more appreciative than the previous one did.
That lasted all of two days.
The Friday after my twenty-fourth birthday (which was on a Wednesday), I got a text from my mom while I was at work that my grandpa was heading to the hospital and that it was likely critical. I left work in a flurry of tears and made the drive up to Los Angeles.
I had, up to that point, been so extremely lucky to never experience the death of someone close to me. I didn’t know what the appropriate reaction was to my Papa’s potential passing. Is there even an appropriate response to it?
It was a frenzied, confusing, terrifying weekend. Then an all right week. And then a wonderful month. He was okay, given what he had been through. He was recovering. We had more time. It was during this troubling period that I realized I needed to write, that I needed an outlet. And it was during this time that I decided to stop waiting and to begin this blog. Maybe it was an overflow of joy from my grandpa doing better, but it felt elating to write for my own pleasure again.
In this short month of being twenty-four, I had almost lost someone I loved dearly. Because of this, my perspective on things as trivial as failure has shifted. Growth in year twenty-four has already happened, and I know it’s going to keep happening.
Next up is my first time out of the country — a two-week trip to Iceland, Ireland, and Portugal with one of my greatest friends in August. I’m ready for this exciting, challenging, eye-opening experience. And I’m ready to look back and reflect on how I was improved because of it.
So let’s see what you’ve got, 2-4.