I turned 33 years old yesterday. It's not a round number or a big number. And much like the last few birthdays, it doesn't feel that different from the one before. Over the weekend, I found this photo, taken a month before my 25th birthday, tucked into a book. I realized, for as long ago as that feels, lots of things haven't changed since then, and for the things that have changed, lots are again close to the same as they were then (there is, of course, the fact that I won't find an actual photo of myself tucked into an actual book in another eight years).
I had just returned from a month of backpacking by myself around Mexico and was with friends in The Bahamas. My time in Mexico got a little lonely and a little scary and I vowed I would never travel alone again. I was working three jobs, getting an art education program off the ground (proud to report: it's still up and running), photographing, and bartending. I was also applying for graduate school so I would never have to work three jobs and have such a crazy life again. But I was doing things I loved, surrounded by people I loved, and managing to pay off my student loans.
I was certain I was going to spend just two years in New York, get my MFA, and then head west again for some version of a life that more closely resembled my more grown-up and settled down friends.
But, instead of two, I've been in New York for almost seven years. In February, I spent two weeks traveling alone, choosing to hardly speak to anyone. And, I'm freelancing again; so again, I have more than one job. I'll be heading west but for the summer; my plans extend only as far as September 1st. I'm still surrounded by people I love; I'm still doing things I love; and I'm still paying off my student loans.
The only thing I am now is more certainly uncertain.