I always find that the halfway mark of each year is a good time to take stock of what I have accomplished recently and what else I would like to develop. We're not quite at that point, but now that we're five months in, the end of May marks another ending/beginning point when it's worthwhile to assess where I have been and where I am going--my birthday.
I have said for many years that my twenty-fifth year would be a great one. In part, it might be my tendency to prefer years that are even numbered or divisible by 5. Or just an overall feeling that I would start hitting my stride in my mid-twenties. 25 is long enough post-college that you're starting to find your way professionally, but still early enough that you're often not "settled down" yet.
I was convinced that 24 would be great, and it has been. That 23 would be "meh," and it was. I am also convinced that 28, which will be my golden birthday, will be a big year.
It's somewhat arbitrary.
It's also somewhat self-prophetic. Because I know it will be a good year, I make it so.
My biggest lesson of 24, I would say, is re-learning to listen to and trust my gut. I learned that I can be my best self if I let my heart speak when it has something to say (even if it sounds insane to my brain). To take leaps completely unfounded in reason simply because they feel right and that can be enough. That vulnerability is sometimes the greatest strength.
My twenty-fourth year has felt hugely transformative, ramping up with intensity as I have been getting closer to this new birthday, the new adventure of the road trip, and our new life in Alaska.
The events of the last year
So much has happened at 24.
In the last year, I learned how to run a mile--a whole mile without stopping.
And then I ran my first race, a 5K. I ran my first 10K a couple months later and then my first half marathon. I stuck with my longest ever exercise regimen.
I came into my own in the workplace, learning how to speak up when I wasn't feeling heard.
To exude a warmth, kindness, and self-authenticity in the day-to-day (still an ideal, but something I've definitely worked on).
I began the first significant step of my yoga journey and met a number of remarkable human beings, some of whom I am confident I will treasure as lifelong friends.
I also said goodbye to that particular training, knowing it no longer felt right to my heart.
I left my wonderful job in a city I liked because I have reached a stage where my partnership and my wellbeing mean more to me than my employment.
I have left good for what I hope will be great. Over the last year, I have faced significant struggle and I have also embraced immense joy.
I am trying to take this time to be grateful for all that I have accomplished and all that I have yet to encounter.
I think it's easy to get impatient during the limbo of transitions. I am neither fully here nor there. I have resigned from my current job but do not yet have a new one. I am ready to leave my apartment but it's not yet time for me to hit the road.
In English literature classes in college, the in-between was easily one of my favorite concepts to analyze. It's frustrating to suss out the meaning of the space in between two things, but it's also fascinating to try.
Liminal space, the threshold, boundary, dividing line.
What happens in this no-space space? Everything and nothing.
Schrödinger's cat, essentially. I am in between.
The breaking down to build up
Following my first yoga teacher training weekend back in January, I mentioned the "butterfly soup"--the dissolution of the caterpillar before it is regrown into a butterfly. The self must break down before it can rebuild. In between 24 and 25, I am neither caterpillar nor butterfly. I am the soup made up of both.
Transformation can be painful, sticky, stressful.
It can also be a fire that burns away all that is non-essential. Parts of you will burn, but all that is integral to your core will remain.
"Step into the fire of self-discovery. This fire will not burn you, it will only burn what you are not." - Mooji
Catharsis by fire. There can be no growth without sloughing off the charred old, that which no longer serves. It takes a while to remember that fire can increase nutrient availability in the soil, and the beauty of new growth can be unparalleled.
But I still don't feel like the new seedling that has taken root. I do not yet feel like the caterpillar emerging as the butterfly. But at last I am somewhere in between. The smoldering remains that are beginning to cool, the constructed new wings still folded carefully within the chrysalis.
Right now I'm on the precipice, poised to take flight into something that unmistakably calls me, but also completely terrifies me. And the act of taking flight will be the beginning of 25.