On Growing Up: Age 23

It was my 23rd birthday last weekend, which means I’m 2 years closer to cheaper car rentals! I did think about that silver lining for a while and that was the best of what I came up with…

Birthdays for me a generally an emotional roller coaster. On one hand, I love large gatherings… but at the same time, I hate large gatherings for me. Which puts me in a weird position of having quite a small birthday celebration when really I’d rather chill with the whole lot of them. Without being the person to invite anyone.

But that’s not the point of this post. The point of this post is to remark on differences that I feel I am experiencing at this part of my life. If there was ever a moment that an English professor swoops down and comments on an overly blatant thesis sentence, this would be the moment.

  1. The 9-5 life is not for me…but maybe it can be if I care enough. Maybe it’s just that I am young and I’m struggling to adjust to a demanding lifestyle that quashes all sense of self-sufficiency and freedom that I’m used to, but I feel like I’m suffocating. The only reason that I’m able to continue with my work is because I’m currently working with students that I care about. I think the further I get from non-profits or organizations that benefit society/the environment in some way, the less fulfilled I will feel.
  2. In the same vein, never will I prioritize a higher income that detracts from the quality of life. Although I’m living on a stipend that’s so small I’m qualified for food stamps, I value having enough time for my interests and personal growth over slaving away at a soul-consuming second job.
  3. I don’t know if it’s because it’s my first time living in a large city, but it’s like I’m trying to cram everything I missed about extracurriculars in college in this year. Although there are many things to hate about that 9-5 (or in my case, the 10-6), it does allow you to really prioritize what you enjoy doing; after being in the office for 8 straight hours, it’s so easy to just scurry home and bundle up for yet another TV marathon of your current obsession so it says a lot that you’re willing to extend your day away from bed in order to do some other activity.Currently, I’m dedicating time to the Austin Humane Society. And recently parted ways with a darling of a foster, Zara. IMG_9512 I’m also trying to get more involved with the Alliance Française here as part of their marketing committee… but I may be overcommitting myself. We’ll see.And I’m building that bike from scratch at the Yellow Bike Project in Austin. So far, I’ve only gotten 4 hours down. So that’s 20 more to go. Let’s face it, we’re never going to get a bike.
  4. My personal moral code is getting stronger…in a way where there is way less wiggle room. Before, I would do something that I believed was wrong and was able to brush it off quickly. Now, when I do something that goes against what I believe, I can feel HORRIBLE about it for a long time… to an extent where I MUST correct the wronged situation. But I believe a stronger moral code is a result of having your actions line up with your beliefs. Good job, Michelle, you basically just defined “moral code.”This list is about to get quite short. 
  5. I am overwhelmingly more interested in reading non-fiction books. Currently reading: The New Jim Crow. 
  6. Less worried about how others think of me and less desperate to make EVERYONE like me. I’ve come to the realization that you’re going to get along with certain people and, although others may be cool too, you’re not going to jive with them.
  7. But also overwhelmingly more interested in animated shows. I’m looking at you, Bob’s Burgers.
  8. Getting my first tattoo was a mistake in that I now want to be tatted EVERYWHERE. I also thought I was a simplistic-outline, stamp-looking, black tattoo person. But after getting into Ink Master, I now want one really elaborate and colorful.
    airplane cage tattoo
  9. I will be a cat lady when I’m older.

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  • http://theladyerrant.com/ Elle

    YES to #1 and #2. I need to be free as a bird. But mostly, I need to commit to that, because I’ve spent the past few months working on independent stuff, freaking out because I don’t have a job, feverishly looking for one, and then not committing. So now I’m back where I started, except with months of wasted time. Oy. Haha, #4 is cute. I’ve always had this awful moral code, the kind that made me randomly confess to an elementary school prank in the middle of class. If anything, I’ve gotten more relaxed about it. . .maybe.

    • http://mishfish13.com/ Mishfish13

      Yeah! There’s always a war going on between me… I do want to be an independent and self-sustaining worker but I’m also someone that requires a bit of financial stability. Hopefully everything will work out for you in the end, though :) it sounds like you learned a lot about yourself in the process!

  • http://agirlandhertravels.com/ Polly

    A. Happy birthday!
    B. That cat is adorable and totally worth becoming a cat lady for.
    C. You’re exactly where I was when I was 23 (two loooooong years ago!) and still kind of am. It’s heartening to know that other people feel the same way about their life-work balance.

    • http://mishfish13.com/ Mishfish13

      Thanks so much, Polly! And I’m glad to see that you’re still kinda where I am, which means it’s definitely possible :)

  • http://www.tothedayslikethis.com/ Sammy @ Days Like This

    Love your tat!! After I got my first one I was addicted and now I have 5! Eek. Also, love your 6th point. I have been realising this more and more lately. You can’t get along with everyone – it’s so exhausting to try!

    • http://mishfish13.com/ Mishfish13

      Haha thanks, Sammy!! Ooh what are your 5?? I love seeing other tatts! I’m thinking after starting small, I want something GORGEOUS and big!

      And yeah, if it happens, it happens and that’s lovely! But if it doesn’t, there’s no need to spend more time on it :)

  • Arman @ thebigmansworld

    Wow, after reading your blog for a long time, I’ve seen this amazing transformation- and I think you are truly finding yourself- something not many can say they have done at that age! I really want a tattoo..and a green card!

    • http://mishfish13.com/ Mishfish13

      Haha ARMAN! Long time no chat buddy :) Thanks so much for the kind words! And get your green card, come visit, and we’ll get tattoos together :p

  • http://thethingsiamcrazyfor.wordpress.com/ Camila

    haha i love that you wrote you’re two years closer to cheaper car rental – when I was 18-20 that’s what I kept wanting and now that I’m 25 I’m like nooooooo. And #4 and 6 – totally!

    • http://mishfish13.com/ Mishfish13

      Haha but that’s all that’s left of the milestones to look forward to! You gotta :p

  • http://www.therandomwritings.com/ Rachel G

    I’m about 3 months older than you–and I can relate to suddenly wanting to read non-fiction books even though I’m no longer forced to by school! I thought this would never happen! I also agree about not choosing higher income that also means lower quality of life. The money isn’t worth it.

    • http://mishfish13.com/ Mishfish13

      I know! I feel like I’m FINALLY interested in learning more about something… not because I’m supposed to but because I genuinely enjoy it.

      Hear hear, we need more of us out there ;)