My birthday is on the 24th of this month and it’s my golden birthday! That means I am turning 24 on the 24th which is a big deal according to pinterest. So by the time you are reading this I will obviously be much wiser and mature than I am in this very moment writing this blog post while watching Bob’s Burgers in a cat onesie. Because that’s how birthdays work right?
People celebrate their birthdays in different ways. Some people have a huge party, some go on a giant binger, some like to celebrate their “birth week” like weirdos (I definitely do this…) and some don’t like to celebrate at all. They might feel it’s just another year bringing them closer to death as they reminisce about all the things they haven’t accomplished yet in their dwindling life. The trendiest of bloggers however, like to celebrate by making a list of things they’ve learned that year equaling the age they turned. Well I’m not going to do that.
I’m going to do one better.
Here is a list of 24 thing’s I HAVE and HAVEN’T learned in my 24 years of life!
There you have it. My 24-year-old wisdom has now been bestowed upon you. Do with it as you wish, but I am pretty proud of how far I’ve come and hoping 24 brings with it a better more lighthearted year than 23. 23, you did me dirty but you forced me to become even stronger and to trust myself a little more. The reality of it is, 24 will be no different than 23 unless I decide to make some changes. So in the words of Hannah Montana, “Life’s what you make it, so let’s make it rock.”
*Bonus things I’ve learned because I’m only turning 24 but I’ve learned more than 24 things.
1. Climate change is real.
2. You really can do anything no matter your race or where you come from. A person with orange skin from reality TV can be the president.
3. Do not foster dogs unless you are planning on adopting them.
4. Dwayne Johnson skips leg day a lot.
5. My mom is extraordinary.
I used to set resolutions. Every year. When I was a kid it was stuff like “be nicer to [insert name of anyone I went to school with here] so you stop getting in trouble” or “talk less, listen more” or “be less of a picky eater”. Whatever resolutions kids come up with to make themselves feel grown up, because grown ups have GOALS and IDEAS.
I started feeling like resolutions and “new year new me” was all bullshit around fourteen or fifteen, because I was going through that angsty “nothing we do matters and we’re all gonna die” phase (my friends reading this are laughing at my use of the word “was”). On some level I felt like I was grown enough to not need resolutions anymore.
For so long I saw knowledge and growth like some sort of mountain, and once you reached the peak there was no higher to climb. You’d done it! Success! You now have all the knowledge you need to kick back and chill and feel better and smarter than everyone else for the rest of your life! You have finally finished growing!
Good joke, 17-year-old me.
That shit never ends. There is never a day you should wake up and feel like you have achieved the meaning of life, perfection, Nirvana, bliss, whatever you want to call it. You haven’t. No one has. Contentment is wonderful, satisfaction is amazing, and those feelings are feelings you deserve to have. But don’t stop growing because you feel “finished”, or stop learning because you think you have it all figured out.
I still don’t love the idea of New Year’s resolutions. It just feels cheesy. But I have had to learn that setting a resolution in 2017 doesn’t mean it’s something I can’t keep working on into 2020. I have ended up keeping all my resolutions from childhood. I learned to be a kinder person, but also to not be afraid of getting into trouble. I have never stopped talking, but I did learn how to listen, and at the end of the day I’m still a picky eater, but I am always willing to try new foods. I didn’t stick to those resolutions like glue, though I’ll blame that on being nine years old, but I had them in my mind and that allowed me to work on those elements of growth, while also realizing that the world wasn’t as black-and-white as I thought it was when I had initially created those goals.
In truth, resolutions are important. It’s important to set goals and strive to achieve them, I really do believe that. Despite the whole “new year new me” cheesiness, I know an arbitrary starting point makes it easier to find a time to put those goals into action, so I’ve accepted it and started making New Year’s resolutions that feel realistic for the moment, and then building on them over time. The way I see it, life is about being better than you were the day before, or hour or minute before. Even by a minuscule, microscopic margin. Change is essential to being a human being. I don’t believe any person should find their comfortable spot and plateau from there, we should all be working to find something to improve ourselves with so we don’t end up unchangeable. We should be finding a way to be kinder, more compassionate, loving, conscious, educated, badass, etc. every day. So hey, if resolutions aren’t your thing, I get that, but on some level, shouldn’t we all be growing and changing and setting new standards for ourselves all the time? And what the hell are we doing with our lives if we aren’t?
I see a lot of people on my social media saying that the 2010s were the absolute WORST and they are very hopeful for the 2020s and while I am optimistic for the new decade, I think the 2010s were not that bad. Perfect? Of course not, but not the worst. I think we are becoming more accepting of other people with more representation in media, we are making massive leaps in technology, and media is changing in an exciting way with cinematic universes and streaming services.
With that being said...
This is one of the first decades where the majority of people have social media and I thought it would be fun to look back on social media and see how I changed.
I do not recommend this.
I seriously do not recommend this.
I authentically, sincerely, one hundred percent do not recommend looking back at your social media from the past decade.
I did this and my god, it was agonizing. My original plan was to share posts with you over the decade but it was a struggle to get past 2012. I’ll share one post with you that I think perfectly encapsulates my youth.
I can almost feel the anger coming off of this post. First of all, no one wants to help a 15-year old with his movie script, ESPECIALLY other 15-year olds! Secondly, use proper grammar and punctuation.
F minus, see me after class!
In a way, it’s kind of nice seeing myself from a decade ago so angry.
I clearly had a lot of passion for what I did, even if it was just writing silly movie scripts. I’d also like to think I’ve calmed down since then. Letting people do their own things and just letting me be me.
Okay, I’ll give you one more at the request of my editor:
USE A SPACE AFTER A PUNCTUATION MARK, GAGE!!!
I am very tempted to go back and edit this status, because this is driving me insane…
Also, notice how I went from one like to zero. That’s how you know these are getting worse.
For those not familiar with the lingo, the word “frolf” is a combination of frisbee and golf and is a “sport” I played in high school. I might as well put in “planking” or “doing the Harlem Shake” instead of frolf because those would have aged just as well.
As well as this being a poorly structured joke, this was also my thinly veiled call for help. I had no idea what I was doing at that point in my life and I used humor as a way to mask my uncertainty.
A lot of people say they wish they could go back in time and tell their past self that everything is gonna work out. I think what people really mean is they wish they could tell themselves to stop worrying about the petty bullshit. I can 90% guarantee this was about some girl who didn’t like me or some class I was struggling with. I would tell my 2011 self to not worry about that and he would definitely not listen. I should’ve been worrying about taxes or something.
My main takeaway by reflecting back on the decade was seeing personal growth. That’s why I consider the 2010s to be time well spent. I needed experience to become a more well-rounded person. Time used to improve is not time wasted.
So as we go into this new decade, I plan to be a better person than I was at the start of the 2010s. Work a little harder, love a little more, and do my best to put out some good into the world. I’ll try to even make better social media posts. Follow me on Twitter @GageAgnew for bangers like this:
Okay maybe “banger” is a bit strong...
Anywho, if I keep doing pushing forward, by the 2030s, I’ll be content going into that new decade because I will have grown and that’s all one can ask for.
Did you know you could capture the attention of everyone the minute you walk into a party? Did you notice that I caught my breath when you shook my hand? Could you tell I was stuttering over my words as I tried to introduce myself? Did you know it was because just one look at you made my heart flutter and my mind to go blank? Could you see as the heat rose to my cheeks when you spoke my name while grasping my hand? Were your eyes lighting up when you smiled at me or was that just the fire dancing in your eyes? Could you tell I was nervous every time you came to talk to me? Could you hear my heart beating out of my chest? Could you tell you sent shivers down my spine when you accidentally brushed my hand with yours? Did you realize how many other girls wanted your attention that night? Were you aware that I kept my distance and watched you from afar? Was there a reason you kept coming over to talk to me? Or was it my friend you came over to talk to? Could you have known when we offered you a ride that I had already given up on the idea of us? Would you ever find out that I was trying to match you with my friend even while I had eyes for you?
But then… Why did you sit so close to me the next time we were together? Why does it seem like every time I looked up, my eyes met yours? Was there something on my face? Did I accidentally wink at you and then turn a bright shade of red when you smiled? Were you aware that that simple act made my heart melt? Did you know your whole face lights up when you laugh? Was I really that funny all night? Do we just have a similar sense of humor or was I really making you genuinely laugh so hard that your eyes crinkled up and tears appeared in the corners? Can you even remember what I said that made you laugh so hard? Are my friends just trying to make me feel better by telling me you couldn’t keep your eyes off of me? Are you always this competitive or was it just because I was winning by so much that you couldn’t help but taunt me? Do you realize how attractive you look when your competitive side is broken with laughter?
Did you realize that text you sent me asking where I was gave me butterflies? Did you know I was nervous as hell for that night with our friends? Were you aware that I had genuine fear of being out on the ice? Were you cautious to approach me due to the high volume of guy friends surrounding me? Did you know I waited until you saw me there to actually be brave enough to step out on the ice? Were you smiling at me or at my mini freak out of being so unstable in skates? What made you want to be next to me most of the night? Did I upset you when I said not to hold onto me because I would pull you down with me? What made you keep offering anyways? Was it because I kept wobbling or was it due to the sparks I felt between us? Did you feel them to? Did you get butterflies when my hands flew to yours for balance? Do you realize the comfort and safety I felt with you behind me, your hands on my waist and my hands on yours? Was that a thumb rub? Did you hook your fingers into mine? What made you let go? Did me almost falling on my face make your day? Was it because it was funny or because you got to catch me and hold me close again? Were we acting in a Hallmark movie?
Why were these moments significant to me? Am I reading into it like I always do? Why did I fall for someone completely out of my league? Are you aware that everything you do is analyzed by my friends and I? Do you know that you’ve stumped every single one of them? Why does everything have to be so confusing? Why am I being so cautious with you when I have never been like that in the past? Is it uncertainty? Or is it me wanting to be certain before I say anything? What is it about you that has made me stray from my normal path of getting it over with? Why can’t I just tell you how I feel and find out how you feel about me? Did any of this even cross your mind? Am I making a fool of myself? Why can’t I get you out of my head? Where do I go from here?