I started writing birthday eve diary entries when I was little. Little-little, like 8. I searched high & low for my first little diary this afternoon, but I have a feeling that it was part of the Great Storage Purge of the Move to Norfolk 2012 This means it's either in the shadows of our bed's frightening underbelly or the caverns of our closet's oddly tall storage shelves, neither of which were worth the battle. I did find the journal I kept during the last year of high school, & read through my 16-going-on-17 birthday eve entry from 2005.
"This past year was all I expected it to be. And since it took me from high school junior to high school senior, it was all I could ask for. It was a year of growth. Mistakes. Reconciliation. Drama. Friends. Licenses. Laughter. Heartbreak. Memories. Boys (ugh). Observations. Arguments. Lessons. Good-byes. Realizations. Change.I'm a little conflicted about this birthday tomorrow.
So really, it was all I needed it to be. Yeah, I screwed up pretty hardcore a couple million times, but I came away with so much from being 16. Sweet 16. Building blocks to the woman I'm going to be.
This coming year is going to be the toughest yet, with graduation and college on the horizon... and I can't wait to get to next year's entry. Imagine... I've got a lot to do. A lot of decisions to be made, a lot of feelings to forget, a lot of maturing to do. A lot to survive. A lot to live."
There's been a level of predictability to every year of my life. I always knew a little bit of what the next step was. High school, college, job, marriage. As a 90% Type A personality (the other 10% accounting for my inability to put shoes & clothing away), this is always the goal. But I have craved change & something -- anything! new for the past two years. Change that moves us away geographically, but also forward. Closer to babies, & home-owning, & career advancement.
It's funny, because reading back on Birthday Eve 2005 makes me realize that the next 4-ish were very similar to the year I'd just had. The drama, the mistakes, the laughter, the hardcore screwing up. However! Even though I knew college was happening, I had no idea that in seven short months, I would meet my future husband. Talk about drama. & that's my favorite part of looking back at 2006. Kelsey, the girl who was not going to get married until she was 30, fell desperately in love at 17. That. That was change.
So, as I sit here cozied up in bed on our second day of serious rain, I wear 24 like an old friend, because 25 is scary. I want so badly to publicly declare that I am the change I want to be in the world & that 25 is just a number & every year is the best year! But, I dunno, man. 25 feels big, & like my next birthday is 30. THUS! Conflicted. I want to move forward. ONWARD & UPWARD! YAY 25! But at the same time, it feels like it's okay to be 24 & still be working on the what's-next. I know. I know I'm ridiculous. (Mostly because I was terrified of 24, also.)
There are constants that will always remain - Jared, dark chocolate, Jesus, group texts, that first breath of fresh air when I walk to the car in the morning, families that love hard & laugh harder. I appreciate these things, & the fact that they'll be there even if I'm sitting in this exact spot this time next year. & in a lesson from 17-year-old Kelsey's book, who knows what surprise twist is a mere seven months away.
24, you were the year I spent inside my own head. & you were comfortable... So, so comfortable. You got a little itchy here at the end, but for the most part, you empowered me. You were city-living & a little bit introverted... & somehow, the year I pierced my nose & dyed my hair brown. You pushed me forward & kept me grounded. You taught me to be still, to stop talking, to make slower judgements & to trust. You were the year of my "Just do it right now!" philosophy, which I hope sticks around because I AM! I am making big decisions, dreaming big & trusting. I know in my deepest thoughts that when I look back on you, you'll be the age that a new adventure began. 24, you were necessary for the good things to come, & you will always be my quiet year.
& so! C'mon, 25. Let's do big things together.