young still, but feeling older, more polished, more free. more adult, dare i say.
i think about the years i whittled away, the ones spent hanging on to hate, to anger, to dislike and discomfort. i think about all the ways i tortured myself, all the people i chose not to get to know, all the risks i scared myself away from. i think about what i wasted.
i am twenty-four-going-on-twenty-five. a quarter century old.
i remember 17 year old zoe, sitting at lunch with her friends, a senior in high school, attempting to visual the future zoe, the zoe at 25, and seeing nothing. no face, no body, no job, no boyfriend. just blackness. dank darkness.
how odd it feels to sit here now, to be eight years out from 17. to be where i could not imagine previously.
what did i do with eight years of my life?
i rarely feel my biological age. i feel 40, 20, 16, 25, 24, and 32 simultaneously. i am not old, but i am old. i am older.
the other day i spun blissfully in my hoop and a thought swam up to meet me in the dizziness: “you are almost 25 and are hooping like you are only 5.” as if to imply i am not allowed, that i must give it up and move on to more practical hobbies.
and i think, what am i careening toward?
that question and answer matter very little. wondering what the future holds is merely asking for the bitter slap of anxiety, over and over again. why put yourself through intentional pain? why resist floating right where you are — and staying there?
what i am learning is the purpose of life is what you make of it.
don’t waste time on the things that make you unhappy. don’t waste time on attempting to change others. don’t waste time on worrying what other people think of you.
waste time on what electrifies your heart. waste time with the people who make you laugh the hardest and who love you the strongest. don’t waste time belittling your body or your self. appreciate the breath in your lungs, the blood in your veins, the habits and ticks of you.
ask yourself questions. evaluate what you give your time to. does it bring you joy? a sense of peace? fulfillment? no? then why are you still doing it?
as a smart friend told me once, “you have to be your own best friend. you have to be your own cheerleader.”
and you do. no one else will take care of you.
why abandon the dreams of your heart because “it’s too hard” or “i am scared” or “i can’t”. it’s NOT too hard. fear is NOT worth caving into. you CAN. you can, you can, you can. you cannot only if you believe you cannot.
life isn’t a serious game of chess, with strategies and tricks to outsmart the people around you. it lies in the blue of the sky. in the wind against your face. in the sound of laughter, in the silence between lovers, in the solitude of personal moments. these beautiful slices of present reality, the ones we push away, the ones we plan around in order to avoid, bring more peace than rushing into the future or slinking back to the past.
following your dreams may not bring you a lot of money. but what does money bring, anyhow? a false sense of comfort? of settling? follow not the blueprints society sketched out for us all. draft your own ones. and never stop dreaming.
i am twenty-four-going-on-twenty-five.
i still have a lot to learn.
i still have a lot of growing to do.
but, as this new year encroaches on me, i am sure of one thing:
never again will i waste time doubting myself, holding myself back, or being anyone other than the weird, 25 year old hooping woman i am.
here’s to living life, unapologetically and with all the courage and willingness it takes to grow.