Me and a Kiwi shortly after my birthday
I didn't intentionally fight these claims about 23. In fact, I may have agreed with this perspective at some points during the year. But looking back, everything I did flew in the face of these ideas. 23 has been the best year of my young life- not coincidentally it may have also been the hardest.
My 23rd birthday was spent with people who were complete strangers only two weeks earlier, in a country where I knew no one except them, and was wholly reliant on their generosity (which was abundant).
I jump-started my 23rd year when I boarded a bus headed for a sulfur scented city; I found myself in a hostel dorm room sharing a bottle of wine and a can of jalapeño Pringles with a dutch woman enjoying her five week vacation. From here 23 became what the article linked above claims 23 cannot be.
At 23 I abseiled in to a cave and spent 5 hours among glow worms and cave eels. At 23 I asked a stranger to climb a volcano with me. At 23 I house-sat for perfect strangers and drove on the left side of the road. I moved in to a hostel at 23 and shared a room with 5 strangers for 2 months. I joined a soccer team at 23, I bought a car and slept in it at road-side rest areas. I worked a job I had been previously denied 3 times and joined a church. At 23 I hiked trails on mountains, hills, farmlands, and beaches, sometimes alone and sometimes with friends. At 23 I read 29 books. At 23 I faced countless rejections for jobs and even more acceptance by strangers, friends, family, and coworkers. I walked on freshly solidified lava fields and gazed upon constellations I had never seen. At 23 I said my last goodbye to my sweetest of friends. I moved 5 times at 23, sometimes to new cities and towns, and often back to familiar faces.
23 sometimes felt overwhelming, lonely, and painful. I discovered characteristics within myself I had no clue I was capable of. And even though I didn't always love my life, it remains the best year I've ever had.
Since I've committed to the business of exceeding my own expectations I intend to stay the course for 24. For those of you who read these jumbled words of nonsense, rest assured, I will keep you informed on what exactly that course turns out to be, just the moment I know it.