24

My 24th birthday was oddly a mile stone for me. It came with a heavy realization that I am one birthday away from being halfway through my 20’s. That was a sobering thought for me.

At the ripe age of 22 (yes I am going back a whole 2 years) I moved to New York from my small suburban town in Georgia to work my dream job. I was so excited and motivated. I had my boyfriend of over 3 years already living in the big city to show me around and grow with me in this new adventure, it was all going to be so great! I made new friends and started moving forward with exciting things at work, life seemed like it was going up hill… let’s be honest I haven’t crashed and burned, but things are dramatically different a mere 2 years later.

After I turned 24 I realized I had a lot less time to get my sh*t together. I had been with my boyfriend for 5 years now, I was still at the same level I started at with my “dream” job, and I realized I wasn’t ok with any of that.

I thought I was going to marry my boyfriend, he was everything I thought I wanted. I had experienced and grown a lot since being to New York, moving to a huge, new and busy city will have that effect. With all of this newfound wisdom I realized my relationship wasn’t all I had cracked it up to be. He was a good man, don’t get me wrong, but not the man for me. He wasn’t ready for the things I was ready for, he couldn’t grow with me anymore. So I let him go.

Dealing with my job was next, I was clear about what I came here to do and it wasn’t happening there. I left that job, and then another before I settled on working freelance. New York is a hustle, and I needed to be able to embrace that in my own way.

On top of making those decisions, things I had no control over started changing around me too. I had a handful of friends (most of my friends, because I really only have a handful to begin with) left the city, by breaking up with my boyfriend I put myself in the situation of living alone in an already lonely (and expensive!) city and my remaining friends became busier in their own lives allowing less time for us to see one another. This all happened at praticaly the same time, and it sent me spiraling into depression.

I am writing this only 6 months after these events. I’ll be honest and say I am so far from figuring everything about myself out, but making those big decisions has put me in a new phase in my life. I have a very different attitude about work, relationships, and personal care than I did last year.

My mom always told me I would change so much between 21 and 25, she couldn’t have been more right, and I still have another year to go! I am learning to be patient with myself while also balancing the motivation to make things happen in my life. I don’t know what’s next for me, and I need to realize that is ok. I am only 24 after all, I am still so young, there is no need to rush anything. This is the prime time to learn about myself and embrace who I am. This is one of the most difficult times in my life so far, but it is also the most exciting because I have the freedom to grow into anything. I stay inspired and hopeful, even in my darker moments. I have faith that things are going to end up where they need to, I find comfort in knowing that. Through all the heart ache, I know that and I can end the day with a smile on my face and hope in my heart.

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