Commemorating 23

Nov 26, 2013 by

My birthday cake: Thanks for changing my life, 23! Okay, 24, let’s do this!

My birthday cake: Thanks for changing my life, 23! Okay, 24, let’s do this!

          Rather than focussing on the scary thought that I am mere hours away from my mid-twenties, I am choosing to commemorate 23. For years, I hated my birthday (because I hated my life, duh!). Over and over, it forced me to look back on my pitiful existence in reflection of the year prior, which repeatedly yielded no new friends, no boyfriend, and no happiness. (When I turned 18, back before the friendless apocalypse, I actually cried when the clock struck midnight. I was “old” and single. Soon-to-be-24-year-old-me, six years older and still single, would kick that bitch if she could.) Not this year, friends! (Aw, this is the first twenty-something birthday eve that I’ve been able to put an s at the end of friend.) Today, as my twenty-third year comes to a close, for the first time in my entire life, I am able to look back on the previous year and know that I did good. This time last year, I was in my bed, sad that another lonely birthday was coming for me. I had no idea that I was just over a month away from my life hitting rock bottom, an unfathomable fate, considering that I had thought I was already there. After a terrible start to 23 last November, followed by a decision in March that I wasn’t going to let myself continue in the direction that I was headed, I created a social life from nothing, I made decisions with what I truly wanted in mind, and I gained confidence through regained independence. Most importantly, I cultivated ongoing happiness, and it took me less than two months from the day that I chose to get off the floor to arrive at it. While my single status still holds true, I tried online dating, I speed dated, I went on three dates, and I acted spontaneously. These are huge strides for my cooch. For too long before 23, my dating and sex lives were without breath.

          Even the radio knows that I did good! Dog Days are Over by Florence and the Machine, my happy song, played on my way home from work today. This is my go-to-Europe song. This is the song that I will be listening to on the plane when embarking on my big trip. I remember the last time that I heard it while driving. It was back in early April. I had recently begun The Happiness Experiment, so the song’s timing was perfect. That day, a few strangers had unknowingly helped me by simply noticing my presence. I really needed to feel less invisible then, and Dog Days are Over on the radio was the icing on their kindness. I don’t believe in signs, but I took that as one that happiness was soon to follow. How appropriate that I hear it tonight, as I reflect on my happy progress.

          If I was a mess when I entered my early twenties, miraculously survived their horridness, and came out of them a happy person who has her shit together, imagine what I’ll do with my mid-twenties by beginning them on a happiness experiment. With this mindset, I am prepared to turn 24 with pride, starting . . . now! After all, I have little choice but to be happy that I’ll only be 24. I have friends that will probably hate my ass if they read this, because mid-twenties are but a memory to them. As for my fellow 1989ers, those suckers will begin turning 25 in about a month, making 24 seem as young as 23. (I love that my birthday is at the end of the year.) And so, 24, I am ready for you. Hit me.

          P.S. Upon turning 24, my boyfriend standards must age with me. As of midnight tonight, I am looking for funny, confident, and outgoing guys between the ages of 25 and 29. Refer your friends, friends!




Dear 23-year-old Maria,

          I bid you the warmest farewell. No matter where I go from here, I will look back on you with utmost pride. Thank you for getting the fuck up off the floor. Thank you for being bold enough to make a fucking move without any promise of a happy ending. Most of all, thank you for setting me up for continued happiness in the future. I am forever grateful to you.

Love always,

Every Maria to Come

Previous: Shattering the Glass Slipper Next: Year 24: Day One

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