At 24, I feel I have so much still to learn. Some days, it’s an exhilarating feeling, one that has me perusing the shelves at the library two minutes from where I live or mapping out a new running route or daydreaming about unwritten novels and yet-to-be kayaked rivers. Other days, though, I’m overtaken by a pressure to live up to my own expectations and overwhelmed by everything I am so eager to experience. A pressure to have the emotional trenches and skylines that are my twenties figured out. A friend of mine wrote on her blog recently that as an early twenty-something, “You still have a lot of learning to do—what makes you tick, what weighs you down, what makes your heart beat fast and what makes you feel like you have no heartbeat at all.” I like this because learning, as she puts it, is a thing we DO: we don’t learn what we want or don’t want out of life by sitting back and letting life happen to us. We experience, fail, seize, disappoint, love, break, and grow. We make hard decisions and also have no say. We give it our all and at times fall short and sometimes, the thing that makes our heart beat fast is the same thing that makes us feel like we have no heartbeat at all.
What do we do with that?
I think we work on what we know how to work on and trust that the rest will follow.
For the past few years, as the December days wind down and the new year is around the corner, I’ve come back to something written by Stephen Cavitt, a truly fascinating person that I had the pleasure of working with a few summers ago. I share his words with hopes that they give you the sense of peace they continuously give me, as one year ends and another begins:
“Whatever your shift is this year, I honor where it takes you. If your path is easy, may it be easy like a river is easy, because some innate pull leads you around obstacles. A flowing that has outgrown resistance. And if your journey is hard, may it be hard like the breaking open of a seed pod when the tendril curls toward the sky. A natural releasing.”