On Growing Older and More Appreciative (Today is 24!)

Rachel Off Duty: Today is 24

My god. How is it earthly possible that today is 24? Is it just me, or does it seem like the older you get, the quicker time slips right through your fingers? I remember when I was a little girl, and days could feel like entire lifetimes, and time was nothing but afternoons spent aimlessly running around in the grass and laughing with friends about everything and nothing at all. Now, it literally feels like 23 was yesterday, and the beginning of 2017 is disappearing as quickly as it came.

Don’t get me wrong. As much as I complain about being wrinkly and gross every single time September 8 rolls around, I somewhat like my birthday. It gives me a reason to force my friends to hang out with me (sorry), and it feels like an achievement, almost, to be reminded of how far I’ve come. But over the past year, I will say that I feel like I’ve developed this bizarre, crippling fear that one day I’ll wake up and feel the insurmountable weight of realizing that I haven’t done enough with my life. I’ll feel regret at the things I didn’t accomplish, remorse over things I couldn’t change, sadness over the state of things as they are now, and jealousy over the things that people around me seem to have figured out that I couldn’t. To me, this fear is honestly paralyzing. In fact, sometimes it’s so bad that I end up beating myself up for even the smallest mistakes, or for “wasting” my time doing things like watching Netflix or sleeping in. I get so caught up in scrutinizing the trivialities of my existence, that I sometimes forget to just sit back and take it all in. This post is a reminder (mostly to myself), that 23 was freaking blissful, and that part of the ride of life is about enjoying experiences as they come, and understanding that what’s meant for you will happen as long as you are willing to put in the work.

Rachel Off Duty: Today is 24
Rachel Off Duty: Today is 24

To send off 23, and to remind myself just how much of an honor it was to have experienced this past year of life exactly as it happened with all of its ups and downs, here are 23 things I did over the last 12 months that I hope I remember fondly for the rest of my long, wrinkly, gross life.

  • At 23, I surrounded myself with great friends and people, and reminded myself that in order to lift yourself up in life, you have to surround yourself with people whose MO is to do the same (and, with that, at 23, I said goodbye to the people that were dragging me down)

  • At 23, I had an amazing roommate-turned-best-friend who I actually wanted to spend time with and have more conversations with than “it’s your turn to empty the dishwasher”

  • At 23, I got a promotion at my first job out of college

  • At 23, I hired and trained my first team at my first job out of college

  • At 23, alongside my boyfriend, I planned and executed my first large-scale influencer event

  • At 23, I started writing and blogging again after having given up for a year, which has honestly blessed me with so much drive and the persistence to keep working and getting better at it. Hopefully, if you’re sticking around to read posts like this, I’m doing a decent job

  • At 23, I started a new workout that relied entirely on my own willingness to stick it out (no trainers or classes involved that would force me to show up and put in the time)

  • At 23, and now into 24, I can happily say that I have officially stuck to this workout for the past 365 days and am still going strong

  • At 23, I got into the best shape I’ve been in since high school

  • At 23, I took my parents to Solvang

  • At 23, I had the best New Year’s celebration of my life (the words “I love you” were involved)

  • At 23, I landed my first freelance marketing and branding gigs, one of which was helping my mom and grandma start their own business

  • At 23, I got back into yoga and conquered my lifelong fear of getting my feet over my head. I can’t say that I’ve perfected handstands or headstands yet, but I’m getting there! 24, maybe? We’ll see!

  • At 23, I landed a new job in a new field and essentially hit the ground running

  • At 23, I camped in Sequoia and the Grand Canyon for the first time

  • At 23, I saw my childhood favorite soccer team of all time, Real Madrid, play at the Coliseum in LA

  • At 23, I went to Coachella with some of the most amazing people in my life

  • At 23, I took one of my best friends to Hawaii with me to visit my family

  • At 23, I took a huge step and moved into an apartment with my amazing and inhumanly patient boyfriend. I don’t know where I’d be without him and I don’t know how he can stand me, but somehow, we just work

  • At 23, I managed to finally keep plants alive for longer than a couple weeks (but I have mostly my boyfriend to thank for this)

  • At 23, I took action towards trying to conquer my fear of photography by signing on to a photography challenge with my boyfriend and one of our other friends (catch him on Insta at Oxford & Henley)

  • At 23, I had my first close-up encounter with a giraffe (which is huge for me. I have an OBSESSION with giraffes!)

  • At 23, I took a road trip to Ensenada, Mexico

One day, when I look back on this year and re-read this post, I hope I remember just how much good happened in the past 365 days of my life, and that even though it felt like a whirlwind of stress and nonstop grinding, it was actually stitched together with several significant moments that made the whole year worthwhile.

Rachel Off Duty: Today is 24
Rachel Off Duty: Today is 24
Rachel Off Duty: Today is 24

To my 24 year-old self, I hope you have the time of your life on your next #OffDutyDestination (any guesses as to where?), I hope you figure out how to start turning your ideas into actions, I hope you learn how to budget and better afford your life (guilty), I hope you keep on following through and that you don’t let the pain of delayed gratification stop you from the hustle, I hope you start making enough money to give back to your parents more often, and I hope that you come to understand that it’s okay to ask questions, and that admitting you’re still learning is never something to be ashamed about.

So, here’s to 24, here’s to the grind, and here’s to the (reluctant) willingness to embrace change. I’m determined to make 24 the best and brightest year yet (and, to the beautiful readers who actually stuck with me down to the bottom of this post, I expect you to hold me to this promise!).

Rachel Off Duty: Today is 24

What I Wore:

Black Maxi Dress and Earrings | Shop Anneise

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