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23 Trips Around the Sun // The Almost Obligatory Birthday Reflection Post

Featured image courtesy of Grastisography whose high-quality, often absurdist, stock photos remain among my favorites. 

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I really wanted to call this post “23 and Me,” but I didn’t want anyone who clicks on this to be hoping for a review of the genetic testing company with the same name. Because this is not that. This is me writing a semi-navel-gazey post a little over a month since my 23rd birthday. (‘Tis the blogger’s right to do such a post as often as once a year if he or she so chooses.) However, the second I feel financially comfortable spending that $200ish, you can bet I’ll be sending a tube of my spit off to 23andMe to find out what tragic diseases I’m genetically predisposed to. But anyways, THIS IS NOT THAT POST.

So, yeah, I turned 23 in April.

At the beginning of May, I moved.

As of May 22nd, I had been a college graduate for a whole year and had been living with my significant other for the same length of time.

And, at the beginning of July, I will be starting a new job/internship in a completely different field from my current job and from what I conceivably went to school for.

I have a B.S. in neuroscience, and I am embarking on a paid* library internship. If all goes well with the internship, I hope to start on my Master of Library and Information Sciences (MLIS) sometime next year.

Even at 23 years old with a college degree and a Roth IRA, I still feel miles away from being a Real Adult. Still not financially independent. Still paying less than half the rent. Don’t have a cat or a dog. Would prefer that my parents solve all of my problems. Don’t completely understand how the stock market works and giggle every time a reporter on NPR references “the Footsie in London.”

All that said, I do feel like I am finding my path and my footing. From ages 16 to 22, I changed my vision of my future and my career path approximately 6,589.7 times. One week I would think, “Oh, an M.S. in Applied Mathematics sounds lucrative!” and the next I’d be telling my boyfriend “If I start now, I can take my MCATs in the fall and apply for med school next summer!” But ever since I let myself seriously consider getting my MLIS and becoming a librarian, I have not Googled a single other degree or career path. I have searched for the difference between an archivist and an academic librarian, sure, but I have not woken up at 3 am and snatched up my phone, intent on figuring out all the requirements for dental school or if joining the Peace Corps might be for me. (I don’t need the internet to tell me that it is not.)

In the last year, I’ve come to love the city that my boyfriend and I live in. Here, I’ve become more independent. In this city, I’ve made one of the best friends I’ve ever had. I have explored coffee shops, bookstores, forest trails, art galleries, and thrift stores. This is the most racially, ethnically, and culturally diverse place I’ve ever lived–and while that is admittedly not saying much considering the previous places I called home, I know it has made me more open and understanding.

For the first time since college, I feel like I can catch glimpses of what my life might look like in 6 months, 1 year, 6 years.

Who knows though–in 6 months I might be writing a post about how much I’ve come to hate books and how I think I might open an Etsy shop selling homemade dog treats. I hope not, though.

I hope 23 is the age where I find a career I truly love.

*I note the paid nature of this internship not to brag that I achieved such a coveted thing but rather to be very honest about why I am able to do this internship. As I will be working at it for 40 hours per week for a whole year, I would not be able to take it were it not paid. I am a huge believer in paid internships. I believe that unpaid internships simply perpetuate the elitism of certain industries by ensuring that only people from well-to-do families can break into the field. Ok, sidenote/rant over.

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