My Twenty-Third Year

Here, I made a list:

  • I had my first publication and was nominated for an anthology

  • I got to intern at a University Press

  • I completed my senior thesis and now have a collection I’m fairly proud of

  • I was accepted into a prestigious poets seminar

  • I went to the UK three times

  • I graduated from college Magna Cum Laude with two majors

  • I got into two top graduate programs, one of which offered me a scholarship

Four girls stand together smiling and hugging each other. They are dressed up for Halloween in DIY costumes as bank robbers and the sun.Black nikes against dark asphalt covered in gorgeous fall leaves. Grace wears black leggings and you can see a fuzzy grey pullover peeking out at the bottom of the photo

Two girls in sunglasses and denim stand in a backyard smiling with their arms around each other.Grace sits in a leather chair in a London pub holding a glass of cider and smiling

I won’t lie, this was a disappointing list for me when I finished writing it. I guess I expected there would be more.   (High-achieving perfectionist, yeah you got me!). Considering half my year was spent in a pandemic, it makes sense, and that is a bit reassuring. But the voice in my head keeps saying that’s an excuse. And that’s a bad mindset, but rather than dive into all the reasons I’m wrong, I want to remind myself (and anyone reading this) that life can’t be adequately summed up in a list.

This list doesn’t have the feeling of being at the fair with friends, exploring places with the people I love, driving out to see the fall leaves on a crisp Saturday.

It doesn’t remember when one of my bestest friends came back to visit me at school and we DIY’d matching costumes for not one but two Halloween parties.

There’s no listing all the times I ended up hanging out with people I never would have otherwise, or driving strangers to parties, or the rare dinners out with my favorite people around me.

It doesn’t capture the delirious, surreal feeling of heading to my favorite restaurant with my boyfriend after having stepped off a plane on a long weekend across the ocean.

It doesn’t paint the picture of his first Thanksgiving and both our first tries at pumpkin pie baking, or the time his parents took us to an amazing dinner at that one place, or hours spent at one bar having great conversation.

Or how about the nights you spent going out with your Little so often it basically became a routine? And I know it can never capture all the times you’ve been outside on a perfect day, swinging alone and content under the blue sky, or squeezed into a booth with friends, or walked beside them feeling accepted and loved and normal.

These are the times when I wish I could close my eyes and freeze time, and know how lucky I am to live like this. I could go on and on, but it’s 11:52PM and nearly midnight, so I’m going to sleep and wake up in the morning to a new year in my life and get going. Here’s to another year like this.

Love,

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