turning 23 checklist

Because I’m curious, I go to Google and type, ‘turning 23 checklist’. It turns out that there’s absolutely nothing written on how accomplished/shitty your life should be when you turn 23.

Like, there’s one on turning 19. There’s an article about ’25 things you should do before turning 25′. There’s a checklist mentioning what you should have done with your career before turning 30. But 23? Yada.

Probably being 23 is not something important. No one’s doing anything big at 23 – it’s not usually the age when you get married, nor the one when you have a career breakthrough. Basically, being 23 means that you’re either still in university (like me) or you’re slaving away in your first job. You’re either still innocent and full of wonderful, grandeur dreams or you’re fed up with how the world turns out and absolutely hate the fact that you need to grow up.

Or perhaps you’re somewhere in-between.

Twenty three. Not a big deal. It’s the year in-between.

It’s the year when you wait for your university life to be over.

It’s the year when you wait for your first big break.

It’s the year when you wait for your dream job.

It’s the year when you think about ten different career paths you could have pursued.

It’s the year when you feel lost, be found, be lost, and feel found.

Oh, yeah, just in case you’re guessing, I’m turning 23. And yeah, let’s get back to the checklist.

Truthfully, I don’t feel accomplished. Sometimes I feel like I’m 23 and I haven’t done anything with my life. I don’t know where I’m going; I don’t even know what subjects I’m going to take next semester. I’m even considering to do a minor thesis (true story). Plus, I can’t tick any checklist! Seriously, I’m not even done with Master’s.

That said, I realise that life doesn’t always go according to plan. Most of all, I realise that life is not easy after all.

Yesterday I read an article titled, The Worst Thing That Can Happen to You in Your 20s. Out of a million possibilities of how your 20s could be the worst (from having lots of debts to being unemployed to just letting the years go by), I couldn’t have guessed what is written:

‘The worst thing that can happen to you in your twenties would be if it were easy.’

Ouch. That hurts.

I know, it’s hard.

It’s hard to get a job. It’s hard to like your job. It’s hard to be good in your job.

It’s hard to do well, to get good grades and to graduate with flying colours.

It’s hard to please your parents, to respect your partner, to maintain your friendship and to be a nice person in general.

It’s hard to take chances, to foolproof your failure zone and to make the right choices.

It’s hard, but that doesn’t mean there’s a shortcut.

This year, I wish to toughen up a little and push through the hard things. This year, I want to try to count my blessings more instead of just shouting my complaints. Even just for a little bit.

Twenty three is my year in-between. Nothing fancy, nothing big, nothing awesome – but small things count too, and the only checklist I want to tick is that I’m still pushing through.

Photo by Artur Freiberger, Creative Commons