twenty four.

"You don’t get better on the days when you feel like going. You get better on the days when you don’t want to go, but you go anyway. If you can overcome the negative energy coming from your tired body or unmotivated mind, you will grow and become better. It won’t be the best workout you have, you won’t accomplish as much as what you usually do when you actually feel good, but that doesn’t matter. Growth is a long term game, and the crappy days are more important."
 — Georges St. Pierre, The Way of the Fight 
See the light in others, and treat them as if that is all you see.
— Wayne Dyer 
You will learn a lot about yourself if you stretch in the direction of goodness, of bigness, of kindness, of forgiveness, of emotional bravery. Be a warrior for love.
— Cheryl Strayed 
This space has documented the past few birthdays. When I turned 21, I wrote a list of things I (thought) I learned up until then. When I turned 22, I wrote a blog called things upon things, and I talk about looking back and feeling like the year before was like I was a character in a book. I wrote two posts when I turned 23—23 things I was still learning and a blog where I talk about how confident/loved/etc I felt in that very moment on my 23rd birthday. 

I turn 24 today, and I don't want to spend paragraphs upon paragraphs writing about how happy I am or how great life is. I don't want to act like I haven't been impacted by the events that have transpired over the past 365 days. I don't want to create a character of myself who pretends things are fine and peachy; someone who pretends she isn't impacted and can just carry the weight of the world without a problem.

Because this year has been hard, just like how all the other ones were hard in their own way and I didn't care to share that. I didn't want to show the world I wasn't doing a very good job when it came to dealing with things. But if there is one thing I'm constantly learning, is that vulnerability is important. It's both the adrenaline rush of excitement that comes from cliff diving and the fear that takes over your entire body until you hit the water below. It's the underlying topic that is in every conversation with loved ones. We want to pretend we are cool and unaffected by things that hurt us. We want to play the who can care less game better than everyone else. It's hard when people we hold near & dear see us at our worst, but it is even harder when we shine a light on all of it ourselves.

This week Sophie Grégoire Trudeau said Let’s simply show up and be there for one another. Let’s be courageous and vulnerable in sharing our stories because by doing that we can save lives. A line in my horoscope this week that says there are feelings that are brighter and wilder and stronger than happiness. I want both of these things to guide my next year. I want to remember that happiness, regardless of how wonderful it is, is not the be-all and end-all. It takes work. It's something that comes and goes as it pleases. I want to remember that I am not failing because I have long stretches of time when happiness feels like a friend who I once knew and now is only a distant memory. 

I want to use vulnerability as a tool for finding happiness; to show up and to be there for others, and to be courageous when it comes to sharing my story. I want to get to work and build a house that has a solid foundation of love and forgiveness and friendship and vulnerability. With those four things, it won't matter if the house gets a broken window or a wonky floorboard. With those four things, we will be able to understand one another and figure it out together. 

I want to remember that softness, and everything that comes with being soft and vulnerable, is not weakness. It is the thing we all have at our core. I want to use softness and vulnerability to help myself stand a little taller on days when it's hard. I want to use it to help myself shine a little brighter on the days when I am feeling rough and dull. I want it to be the light that seeps through all of the cracks we all have. I want it to be the thing that guides all of us back to shore. 

Writing is what helps me figure out all of the mess of being twenty-four. Thank you for reading and for being on this journey with me. Let's figure it all out together, hand-in-hand.

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