Another year has come and gone, and as I read the letter from last year, I realize how many little things I hoped and wished for actually happened. I was employed for all of 24 (minus a two-week gap, but I still had a job lined up). While 24 had some major life changes, it also felt like the calmest year of my adult life thus far.
I was employed the whole year, I made real, honest to goodness friends. Friends I still talk to on a regular basis, even if I don’t spend time with them every day. Friends who understand my sense of humor and my love for a bottle of wine.
A year ago, I felt pretty alone. I still feel alone sometimes, but now I have friends I can reach out to, to talk to, even if it’s just for something to distract myself. That feels like a pretty solid improvement
There were still stumbling blocks in 24 – I didn’t lose a lot of weight, and lord knows I didn’t put any books out – but that’s all right. 24 felt like the first year I got to be a normal adult, with normal adult problems, like bills and car payments and boys, but still chase after these not-so-normal dreams.
After seven years, you went on a date, Laura! And then another one! You swiped right a lot, but you swiped left more often (we’ll blame it on being left-handed) and now, things might be developing with someone – and it just might be something better than one coffee date (or maybe i5 won’t at all). If not, there’s a new level of confidence involved with just being you.
You made friends at work, friends you still talk to on a regular basis. You cried your face off the last half hour of your last day at Apple. Those friends at Apple seem to be the ones who know you best out of all the people in Austin.
Either way, twenty-four was a fun year, a wonderful year in every aspect of the word. It wasn’t perfect, but it sure was a solid one.
As twenty-five hits today, I’m not sure I know really what I want anymore – I just want things to be settled. I want a place to call my own, I’m tired of moving, of changing jobs all the time. I want some stability. I look forward to seeing all these people I know and love walk down the aisle in the next year (a best friend and two different cousins) and hoping that I’ll find something special, too.
I look forward to finally publishing a new book and really leaning into my writing again. I look forward to getting rid of some more pounds and hopefully dropping below 200 again. And I’m really looking forward to getting a haircut because it’ll be almost eighteen months between haircuts when I finally do get it cut. Something tells me, now, standing at the end of twenty-four, that twenty-five is going to be pretty damn all right. And I am perfectly all right with that.
As I write another letter on another birthday, I realize that every year I’ve just finished was the most insane year of my life. In some ways, 23 fits that shoe perfectly. But then I think about the last six months of being 22, working in politics and tell myself 23 wasn’t all that bad.
Granted, I was unemployed for seven months, struggling through job interview after job interview, but now I have a job I absolutely love. While my contract expires early next year, I’m feeling hopeful that I’ll get something permanent there. It would be awfully nice to spend all of 24 with a full-time job.
23 also taught me that my autoimmune disease isn’t the end-all-be-all, even though it often feels like it. I lost thirty pounds (and then gained six back or so). But I learned that my body can do that, which is something I didn’t I could do a year ago. I’m hoping 24 will get me closer to my overall goal. Not only did I lose weight, I started going to the gym on a regular basis and in the past month I’ve finally found professional help for my life-long acne struggle. While 23 wasn’t the “year I fixed my health problems” it was the year I started down that path.
I thought I’d put out two books this year, but I put out zero. I stumbled in my business, but that’s okay. The stumbles of 23 are hopefully the building blocks in which 24 will flourish.
This year, I learned who I couldn’t count on – even when I thought I could. I realized that being forgotten is one of the worst feelings in the world, and growing up doesn’t make it any easier. I’m still a recovering political addict (with more emphasis on ‘addict’ than recovering) with a nasty sense of humor. In 24, part of me hopes to even just make it to a date, but then again, my sense of humor would be crippled if I actually did.
In 23, I also found some of my new favorite hobbies – podcasts, Youtube, and tornado coverage. While I was unemployed over the spring, I spent many afternoons watching severe weather coverage while I was writing or working on blog stuff.
For no real reason why, I’ve always considered 24 to be my lucky number. I don’t know why, I just like the number 24. So, while I love the number 24, I hope the number 24 loves me, because for the first time in a long time, I totally ready to embrace whatever it throws my way.
Taylor Swift wrote a whole song about the twenty-second year, and as I reflect, I realize there’s one line that really does sum it all up.
We’re happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time // It’s miserable and magical.
22 was the year where things changed constantly. I graduated college, which is one of the biggest life changes I think anyone goes through. I moved three times, from Huntsville back home, home to Austin, and Austin to a new apartment. I had a six-month career in politics that ended 36 hours after the election was over.
Another book is under my belt, and I’m frantically working on a third (but that will never change).
This past year, I made new friends in many places, but some things never change: most of those friendships were made at church.
Another year has come and gone, and as I’m starting 23 reshuffling my life a little bit, I’m more excited than I am scared (but just barely).
I hope 23 is as happy, crazy, and insane as 22 was. That I can ramble my way through life, and enjoy every moment of it. That maybe I find a balance between my need to see the world (or at least of Texas), and my need to be at home and be creative.
23, I can’t wait for what you have in store, and I can’t wait to make the most of you.
In the past year, I’ve learned that life is constantly changing. I said goodbye to people in life, found my spot in a place that I’ve been in for a few years, all to know I’m going to lose it all next month.
My career saw new changes. I had to admit that my autoimmune disease limits me more than I want it to. I met new people who have had incredible careers, and I’ve taken the steps to start my own career in the professional world.
Today is the start of another year. 22. 21 was a big lead up, and a week ago, I finally released that book. Now, 22 will be about expanding and exploring. College is about to end and the rest of my life begins. It’s time to see what is out there in the world, to meet new people, push my boundaries, pour my heart into more stories.
22 has many scary things staring me in the face right now, but there’s so much to look forward to.
So, 22, bring it on.
You’ve come and gone like every other year in my life and I have to say, I’m pretty satisfied with what happened in my time with you. I continued to grow and repair myself, and while that sometimes meant leaving others behind for the sake of my own sanity, I’ve come to acceptance with what happened to everyone in those situations. Forgiven those who shot nasty words at me, forgiven myself for words I shouldn’t have said and I can only hope that those involved have forgiven me for the things I’ve done too.
But now our time together is over and it’s time for me to move on. A new age, a new time. 21. No catchy Taylor Swift song this year, but there’s only one thing I can really ask you to bring me, 21. I hope you bring more growth and grace and classiness.
Oh, and maybe a boyfriend would be nice so people can stop asking why I’m still single, but you know, I’m not too picky either way.
So 21, here’s to hoping you’re the best year yet.