Is there something going on in the world right now? I don’t mean environmentally. I don’t mean politically. I mean is something legitimately up? The fact that I am posting one of these things for the first time in almost a year is a pretty good indicator that the earth may actually be slightly off its axis.
Well kids, it’s finally that time. Time for Exploring 24 to come to an end.
But not because I’m going to stop posting. It’s because I’m turning 25 tomorrow! I’ve done all the exploring of 24 that time will allow me. And I have to say, I am much more pleased with what I found than I ever would have imagined.
I can’t believe it was a whole year ago that I started this thing. While sitting in the disgusting hotel room I had to call home for 3 weeks, I had my roommates try out a new home health trick called “oil pulling” (where you swish coconut, sunflower, peanut oil around your mouth for 20 whole minutes). Partially because I think it really does give you whiter teeth and help with joint pain. But mostly because I knew that meant they had to be quiet for 20 minutes and I could concentrate on posting this. Sneaky and selfish, I know.
But it really feels like the last year of my life was a dream. Of course with any dream there are moments that are so confusing and frustrating it seems like a nightmare. But overall, it was more like a dream where when you wake up you think, “Damn, I kind of wish I slept just a few more minutes.” Especially my FEMA Life. Over the last week I was able to meet up with a member of my FEMAfam and we couldn’t help but compare our time in AmeriCorps to being stuck on the island from LOST. Meaning, none of it made any sense… but we’re glad we watched it. And glad we had each other to help piece together where the smoke monster and roaming polar bears came into play.
I learned a lot about myself over the past year and what it really means to be in my mid twenties.
1) Being 24 feels a lot like being 20. You’re sort of in between being able to be a young, sassy teenager where people can excuse your life choices by simply saying “Oh, she’s just a teenager.” And you’re also not old enough to experience all the more adult things that are just a short year away. However in being 24, it’s more that you feel a little weird when you want to go to bed at 10:30 when a few short years ago you were still doing your makeup and taking shots before going to a frat party. And rather than the cool adult things being that you’re able to legally drink, it’s that your car insurance is about to go down, and that you can rent another car without being raped by underage fees.
2) You’re not alone in feeling older than you are. A few weeks after returning home from AmeriCorps, I was visiting with 2 sorority friends when we realized we had spent 15 whole minutes talking about the new plates they had just purchased. That’s right, plates. It was then that the perpetual “What happened to us?” rang proud and true. We then spent our Friday night letting my one friend practice taking our blood pressure for school and giving us free scoliosis tests. Good news, I am scoliosis free!
3) People start to question you about your future more than you ever possibly imagined. Seriously. Not that I am not absolutely thrilled for all of my friends that are getting engaged, getting married, having children and buying houses… all of whom are excellent human beings and deserve every happiness in the world. But Holy Crap, not everyone is quite on that level of stability. If one more person asks me if I am in a relationship or getting engaged soon, I might pass out. Even my doctor recently asked me, “Well, would it really be the worst thing in the world f you were pregnant. I mean, you are 24.”
To be fair, she doesn’t know that I spend most of my days watching Sponge bob or that I often have to decide between getting gas and getting a haircut because it isn’t my pay week. But seriously, what does being 24 have to do with that? I simply replied, “Well. It certainly wouldn’t be ideal.” So to all my friends that are making those huge leaps in life, congratulations! Being totally serious, I love weddings and showers and such so I am extremely grateful I now have some to go to for people that I really care about.
But for the people that aren’t quite there yet here’s a helpful tip. When someone asks me about marriage, I usually try to work the phrase “Daddy Issues” somewhere into the conversation. Even if you don't have those, it makes people very uncomfortable and usually keeps them at bay for awhile.
4) And lastly, I learned a lot about how although things don’t always work out the way you planned, it is totally and completely up to you how you handle them. I used to be a firm believer in karma. And sure I guess I still am. But you could be the best person on the face of the planet, never have had a selfish thought ever enter your brain… that doesn’t mean you are exempt from the universe and some of the people in it taking a giant dump on you. The only thing you can do is allow yourself a short freak out, because I genuinely think that helps. As my mom often says, when something goes wrong, you should allow yourself ONE, really good, snotty, makeup running cry. And then it’s time to grow up and figure out what you’re going to do about it. You have to make a plan for how to make it better. Sitting and wallowing in your own self pity is only going to lead to one thing… You’re going to have a lot of snot and runny make up on your hands. And no one wants that.
My entire year of being 23 sort of felt like one big cry fest. But this last year I learned the power of surrounding yourself with the right people, staying focused on your goals (no matter how big or small) and learning to take one day at a time. Life is scary and hard and confusing at any age. While waiting in the airport last week, I had the pleasure of meeting a 15 year old that was also named Kate. She was a high school freshman, a cheerleader and dancer, and had one older sister and lived with her mom. So as you can imagine I really connected with her. I felt like I was talking to myself from the past. But hearing her talk about her life was seriously eye opening. I didn’t discredit a single one of her concerns because I remember thinking that similar things in my own at that age were absolutely WORLD ENDING. But I was so happy that I was able to confidently tell her, that in 10 years, she is going to look back at all of those things and giggle. Because life only does one thing… it goes on. And you have to do anything you can to make the most of it.
So as I say goodbye to what has truly been one of the raddest years of my life, I hope to take with me everything I learned and even more hope that I passed on any advice/ fake wisdom to some of you. I want to once again thank all of the people that read and shared my story, every “page view” I had on my Weebly account page filled me with more joy than you can possibly imagine. Stay tuned for the updated version of this blog that will hence worth be known as “Schwartz Story.” Where you will be able to read about all the sticky situations I regularly find myself in and refer to as my “Adult Lizzie McGuire moments.”
And just one more special thanks to my family and friends for being the best support system a girl could ask for. I experienced a lot of changes this year and I couldn’t have gotten through it all, let alone happily, without you.
Peace out, 24. Thank you for being everything I hoped for and needed you to be.
25, lets’ do this.