My name is a palindrome. For those of you who don't know what that is, it means it's the same thing backward as it is forward. Like "racecar" or "Bob." And now for the first time in 11 years, my age is a palindrome too. It's Friday, September 30th and I just turned 22. I feel like this whole palindrome thing maybe means that this year will be special, maybe I'll change a lot as a person and learn a lot of new things.
Thursday night, I somehow got on the conversation of my birthday coming up and an older lady who I rang through at my day job told me that if my life has been happy thus far, it will continue to be happy. But if it's been troubled, it will stay troubled. I'm not sure how I feel about that. I guess it's been pretty split down the middle. So now, as with all birthdays, I'm reflecting on life thus far and all of the things I've gathered from spending 21 years on earth.
For one, I've realized how unpredictable life can be. This past year in particular has been a weird one, in a good way. One weekend in January I got my first role in a play and was hired (as the youngest staffer) for xoJane.com. That was a little surreal, especially considering where I thought I'd be, and where I actually ended up being. I'm learning that change is good, because the fact of the matter is I have absolutely no clue what I'm doing. But I have faith, and when you put your faith in the universe treating you all right, it usually does.
I'm also learning (and boy, is this a hard lesson), not to let time pass me by. This is a difficult one, and at the same time so simple. Time flies. I know, I know, people say that all the time, but it's become so much more apparent to me now how true that is. Just seeing that baby Lily from Modern Family talking now makes me realize this. (P.S. does that freak anyone else out?)
I mean, it's almost October, and when I think about how many days I spent in bed this year when I could have been riding my bike, or sifting through the shelves at the bookstore down the street, I get bummed out. But this whole getting older thing makes me realize I need to start filling each and every day with SOMETHING. No more wasting away.
I'm not going to turn into one of those irritating people who gets a "carpe diem" tattoo or says things like "Live everyday like it was your last!" because that's not really how I feel. I just don't want to sit around doing nothing when I could be doing something instead.
Another thing I've come to realize is that it's OK when certain things don't work out. It's easy to blame a lost opportunity, a job you didn't get, a person who didn't love you, on yourself. You can ask yourself "what's wrong with me that I couldn't make this happen?" but eventually you'll figure out that it wasn't anything wrong with you, it just wasn't meant to be. I've experienced a lot of disappointments thus far only to find something bigger and better come along. I know, I know, easier said than done. Disappointments will still break your heart, but they'll also make the good stuff sweeter.
And finally, food is important. Eat all of the food. Go to as many restaurants as you can. Eat until you're so full you feel like you're going to puke. Don't worry about calories or grams of fat or carbs or whatever, because all of those things are delicious. Fill up on the bread and then your main course can be a leftover second dinner for later. Pad Thai always tastes better the next day. Try things even if they look gross because you might end up liking oysters (I did). Don't deprive yourself of the things that make you happy.
I'm not an expert. Like I said, I'm only 22. But I've learned a few things so far: Enjoy life. Take it easy, and take your time. Do all of the things that you want to do, and pause to really appreciate them. And when things get hard, cry. Let snot run down your face and let your eyes get swollen and red, scream. Cry so hard that you get a headache, then take a nap afterwards. Or go for a run. Either way, you'll feel a lot better.
That's pretty much it.