Tuesday, March 22, 2011

23: lessons.

 "Life changes in the instant. The ordinary instant."
— Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)

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I was going to write how very very lucky I am, but I’m not sure I believe in luck. So I’ll say how very very blessed I am instead. Even if it’s only because I’m still breathing—for almost 23 years. That’s three years more than twice a decade, almost one fourth of a century! It’s only yesterday it seems that I was a little thing climbing mango trees on the island.

I can’t believe I’m 23 tomorrow. I remember when my sister and I were little and we told our father that we wanted to get married at eighteen years—it seemed so old! I remember how nervous my father looked, how he told us that eighteen is really very young, but we never believed him. I've realized that he was right about eighteen.

Now, almost 23? It seems kind of young, kind of aging. Because I can pray that a lifelong partner who is kind to me, a little family, lots of traveling, a career I love, is right over the mountain. Only, I’ve just started hiking. I think in the back of my mind in years past, I thought that by now I’d be closer to those things. But what helps is that my mother always says that life begins at 40 and I kind of believe her.

And there is the beauty of growing old…like the first wedding I anticipate of all of my friends, the first child…life speeding by like photographs, like vignettes…



I believe I’ve only had one birthday party and I was maybe turning eleven or ten.

I remember how my mom made me a beautiful cake (probably from a box mix) with coconut flakes and white icing. I remember how my father picked up some kids from far into the mountains, where one of his churches were. I didn’t entirely realize it then, but those kids worshipped my siblings and me because we lived in the city and my father, who was the minister, drove a car, my mother is very light skinned, my siblings and me went to private school, etc.

I remember us playing games in the yard, my mother cutting the coconut cake, and one of the little girls from the mountain giving me a photo of her as a gift.

But I’m not sure why I mentioned any of that birthday long passed. I only just remembered the coconut cake and wanted to share with you...

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Recently, I’ve been thinking of anything and/or everything I’ve learned these almost  23 years. And then I started writing and decided to share a few:

(1.) In one of my very favorite books, Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird,” Atticus Finch says to his little girl daughter, Scout, who also functions as the narrator, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view--until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” I absolutely love that, whole heartedly agree with it, and I am always remembering to stay true to it.

(2.) When my sister and I were little, my father who never cussed told us, “Don’t let any boy call you a pussy.” It took me a long, long time to realize what he meant, that he was trying to teach us about self-respect.

(3.) "The willingness to accept responsibility for one's own life is the source from which self-respect springs." --- Joan Didion 
Which is why I’ve committed--among many other things--to leave my house fifteen minutes earlier than it takes me to make it ' oh exactly on time,' so I'm never ever late for anything.

(4.) Chivalry isn’t gender specific. Remembering to keep others in high priority, reminds me to be selfless, to be kind.

(5.) Resentment is a waste of time. It's a terrible idea. Instead, I want to wish the best for someone’s happiness.

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That's Julieta kissing Melisa, who turned 23 yesterday! I love that our mothers were pregnant at the same time and gave birth only two days within each other!


Happy Tuesday! Hoping y'all are good :) Anything you've learned with age you'd love to share?

-A-

8 comments:

Ro said...

You are wise BEYOND your years :-)
happy almost Bday Alexia

Alexia @ Dimple Snatcher said...

it's because i read your blog so much! ;) thanks, ro!

Losing in the City said...

wow, what an inspiring post.. 23 is a great age so enjoy it to the fullest.. as they say life happens when we least expect it... i'm 34 years old and I have to agree with the first comment from "Ro" you are truly wise beyond your years...

there are lots of things that i have learned with age, the one that stands out the most is the power of patience.. whether it's being patient with the person in front of me at a store who's returning a gazillion items, to being patient with what god has in store for me as it relates to my career and family.. patience is truly a virtue....when you're patient you think clearer and make smart decisions..

enjoy your birthday tomorrow...23 is just the beginning...

Katie J said...

Happy early birthday sweet Alexia! I love looking at the world from your perspective.

Miss E said...

Happy birthday Alexia! Hope you're having a wonderful time.
I'd like to echo everyone above, since I've actually always thought you're very wise, way wiser than most 23 year olds (and older people for that matter) I know.
But what have I learned over the years (I was 23 ten years ago!)??
1.You have to go after your dreams, nothing will come to you while you wait. And
2. Doing nothing does not leave you in the same place you are, it actually make you worse off!
Now if only I could wise up enough to put those into practice, especially pertaining to my weight loss journey...

All the best to you, my dear! Life is what you make it.

Yum Yucky said...

I'm 15 years your senior, but I feel like I always learn from you when I read your blog. I hope you're having a great birthday. :)

Alexia @ Dimple Snatcher said...

thanks, everyone!

Jasmine said...

This post was so delicate and lovely. You are beautiful, Alexia. I'm glad I (virtually) know you. Happy Birthday, girl. 23 -wow. You are far, far wiser than I was at that age. :)

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