What Will 23 Look Like?

2011 was an AMAZING season! Though it was a transitional period, all of these incredible doors opened and my purpose seemed clearer. The dreams that I had spent evenings mapping and mornings pursuing were within reach. I embraced the possibilities and forged the beginning of a “career” as a freelance print journalist. But I knew that it would be impossible to flourish without a concrete vision of where I was headed.

So as 2012 approached, I decided to host a residence hall program (since I was a RA and all) designed to teach the importance of having a life plan by creating vision boards. [Check out this old blog post for more on that process]. I didn’t give specific rules about what the board had to entail; instead, I passed out poster boards, magazines, scissors and glue and set the women free. But since I prefer to hash out short-term goals, I decided to use my board to envision the ideal 2012.

My ideal 2012 included getting fit + losing weight, reporting live from Mercedez-Benz Fashion Week in New York, opening new doors in the journalism world, publishing more clips, and increasing my social media presence among other things.

We are five months from the end of 2012 and that entire vision board – sans a couple of tweaks – has been accomplished. That board was the last thing I saw before falling asleep and the first thing I noticed when I woke up each morning, which affirmed the belief that I could achieve the impossible. It was subconscious motivation.

But until about an hour ago, I’d never considered the difference that age makes in achieving our dreams. I’m well aware that our lives unfold in seasons. But I never bothered to connect the dots between age and season, until I read one of my favorite bloggers, Deidre Gadsden’s, latest post about how the ages 23 and 24 changed her life and redirected her purpose.

Her words immediately struck me.

“23/24 is more life changing than you think.

If you’re paying attention to your intuition through it all, you end up on your path towards your calling. Something life changing may happen at 23/24. Keep your eyes open.

Don’t worry if 23/24 doesn’t bring you the stability/dream job/dream relationship that you thought it would. 23/24 is younger than you think. You have your entire life ahead of you.

The choices you make at those ages, have the potential to propel you towards a life you couldn’t have even imagined for yourself.”

It was food for thought. As I digested her wisdom, it hit me! I will be turning 23 in three months. I recognized how significant this age would be for me on Twitter a few weeks ago.

But Deidre’s words have forced me to truly think about what I want to manifest when I’m 23. A borderline sense of panic set in, which is common when I begin practicing the horrible habit of comparing my life to the women that I admire. Most of us are guilty of this torture. I first noticed it when I was enrolled in a class that dissected Alice Walker’s life and work. I was exhilarated and über mortified when I realized that some of her greatest accomplishments – including fighting injustice in the Civil Rights Movement, finding love, and penning masterpieces – happened before she was 30. Beyoncé is not even 31 and has amassed success that some of us can’t even begin to imagine. And the list of women goes on.

In those moments of comparison, I doubt my own purpose. I begin stacking the deck, seeing which pile has more winning card suits. But that is an unhealthful behavior; the first step toward changing it is being aware that it’s happening.

So instead of engaging in the “how do I stack up at 22” game, I’m investing time in developing a vision for 23. This will be a season of successful and positive transitions.

Here are my goals so far:

  • Propel to the next level mentally, spiritually and physically.
  • Find love with someone who’s willing to commit and progress toward something solid.
  • Travel! Visit exotic locations and indulge in the pleasantries of life.
  • Fulfill my wildest fantasies without inhibitions.
  • Forge meaningful friendships and mentorships with other students in graduate school.
  • Arrive at the door of someone’s magazine/website and begin earning my way to the top position.
  • Continue building the Evette Dionne brand by devoting time to my own blog.
  • Establish friendships through real-life interactions and social media that will sustain me as a woman and a writer.
  • Figure this womanism concept out! Start dialoguing and creating discourse about this aspect of my life.

More goals will be created as the date approaches. However, what I know is that it’s time to reap the benefits of the gardening that I’ve had to fortitude to nurture since the age of 21. It’s my season to blossom!

What did 23 do for your life?

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4 thoughts on “What Will 23 Look Like?

  1. Evette, this is so inspiring! I’m so excited to see all the amazing things you’re going to accomplish in the next few years. You truly are a talented writer, but more important than that, you’re so driven, and I think that is what will propel you to success.

  2. Thanks for the kind words and encouragement, Sarah! I’m so thankful that I had the chance to meet you and Courtney this summer. We’re all going to do amazing things in the world. Best of all, we’ll be lifelong margarita buddies, no matter what corners of the world we’re on!

  3. Great list! I love reading posts about people’s goals. They’re always so inspiring. These are great aspirations. Make your goals concrete and develop a plan for accomplishing them and you’re on your way!

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