Today is my birthday! When my sister realized the age I was turning, she said, “Oh, my God” (hinting, I believe, at how weird for her sister to be that old).
What do people think of when they imagine a 24-year-old? It can be so different for everyone. Oddly enough, I never really had a vision for this age. Sweet sixteen makes one think of prom dresses with gathered taffeta skirts. Eighteen makes you think of tossing caps among people you hope to never see again and moving into dorms with people you probably won’t get along with.
When you’re a teenager, projection of the future seems to stop at 21. When you turn 21, you are in college and likely have fuzzy memories of that celebration. After 21 comes 22, and Taylor Swift has done a good job laying claim to that one. Twenty-three was a bit lackluster in many ways, but I had also just started a new job, so things were crazy and exciting, albeit hard. I will always remember 23 as a transition.
But 24…what is it, really? I’ve been at my job for over a year, so no big changes career-wise. I already bought a car and pay for my own health insurance. I moved out of my parent’s house and into my own place where I occasionally let my boyfriend forget his watches. But mostly, I am with myself in that place — and I love it.
I harbor a feeling of peace, of satisfaction, of confidence. For the first time, I feel like I am standing on solid ground that is stable enough to handle next steps. Does that mean all the big, hard transitions post-college are coming to a close? Am I in a phase where working, existing, and enjoying are actually my every day?
It seems like up to now, so much of my life has been about the next thing. Is 24 the time to actually…live the thing?
I never had a vision for this age, but I am extremely happy with the reality. And I’m not thinking about the next big birthday. I’m thinking, for once, about right now.