quarter life commitment
I'm 25 as of today1. I didn't do anything differently to celebrate; I just did everything I normally do with some extra flourish. I woke up, made my bed (actually tucked in my sheets), made some coffee (a shakerato), and prepared a simple breakfast (tamago kake gohan). I opened my shades to a beautiful San Francisco day, a cloudless blue sky and ample sunshine to stave off the relentless wind.
They say you're supposed to have an existential crisis when you turn 25, but this year feels light. I recognize my crippling existentialism lurking in the corner—it seems satisfied staying in the shadows of my soul's home.
I have a little reminder that shows me my notes "on this day" a year ago, which includes my reflection on the mid-twenties on turning 24. My existentialism was out and dancing then. My reflection reads as a winding wish list or a prayer litany. I'm free now and I want to use that freedom for the things I love. It feels like something you'd write at the cusp of a change, a piece of "faking it" that you write to convince yourself that you're different from who you are in the moment. As is my tendency, it ends on an optimistic note, but you can't help but feel like there's an undercurrent of yearning that is being covered up by hopeful placards.
I watched Everything Everywhere All At Once (do yourself a favor and go watch it if you haven't seen it) the day after, which was fitting given the existential theme. Through a set of infinite consciousnesses, it tells the story of how humans can teeter between the edge of pure nihilism (nothing matters) and unstoppable kindness (this moment of kindness is all that matters) and arrives at a point of optimistic nihilism (every tender moment is worth fighting for, no matter how few or far between). It's beautiful, moving, funny, technically masterful as a work of film and acting, and it does so all to insist—lovingly, persistently, hysterically—that we matter for no reason of greatness other than being us and being here. We don't need to prove our worth to the world, to our infinitely more "successful" selves. The moment we're in—now, this very second is what matters to us. It's a message of hope, a call to arms for us to fight for the world we want to see. To fight with love and beauty and an appreciation for all the weird, peaceful, sublime moments of our lives. Fighting to gift these moments to others, seeking understanding, towards a more whole knowing of others.
At the turn of my quarter life, I'm feeling grateful, settled, hopeful—primed to fight for what I love and believe in.
Grateful for all the love and inspiration and laughs and fun in the people that inhabit my life and the exchange of these invisible substances, winding their way through invisible trails connecting us.
Settled in my pursuit of craft, how my passion ebbs and flows between hobbies in constant pursuit of creation and beauty and mediums for connection.
Hopeful for the flourishing of a world where we're all dreamers, and it isn't sad or conflicting to want to be and say you are one.
I've been saying I'm not existential, but that's not quite true. I'm existential in the sense that I'm reflecting on living and being. People always associate being existential with a negative connotation, with questioning the meaning of everything and being unsettled by the silence that follows.
Can you be hopeful and existential? I've been wondering how life can be so good, how beauty can be so ample, how passion can be so intense, how kindness can go so far, how laughter can echo so deeply, how a smile can turn around a day and a name can be the portal to a new world and a rambling reflection can be a lifeline in the dark. I'm thinking about how we can exist in a world that contains tender raindrops that slip down misty windows, billions of burning rocks that dutifully perform against the shawl of our universe, ladybugs that curiously creep up your finger, the way fresh vegetables share the history of their essence, seas that look like an oil painting, layers upon layers of contrasting gouache.
I can't help but feel overwhelming love for the space we inhabit and stubborn hope for our agency to form societies that empower everyone to feel this way. That we will burn optimism as fuel for creating something better for our community. That we believe in our ability to make change and be fun and show love, even if just to ourselves.
I hoped for all these things last year and somehow it feels like they have manifested in flesh and bits and neural activity. I'm doing the things I love, emotionally surrounded by people I love, growing in the ways I want. I don't think I'm perfect—awareness of my flaws is part of what I seek. But I wouldn't change anything I'm doing. I just want to keep going—towards mutualistic flourishing.
I know I'm naive; I'm a dreamer. But maybe we should get our hopes up for things sometimes. Maybe we shouldn't dampen how we feel to avoid the possibility of disappointment. Maybe we should hope for and demand everything—ask for the world, the stars, and the ever-expanding universe for ourselves. Maybe naïveté is how we keep imagining in vivid colors, connecting with rich feelings, dreaming of diverse characters.
Every day I'm searching for perception. The ability to perceive as much of the rich detail that pervades every moment of my life. I don't want to shy away from who I am or what I like or how I feel or who I love. I don't want to avert my eyes from ugliness or sadness or absolute bat-shit craziness. Living is about experiencing it all. Being is about feeling the threads of energy that connect us all, your enemies and towering redwoods and adorable squirrels. Existing is about breathing in the fullness of every second. And I'll fight to breathe deeply every day, again, again, again.
to be completely accurate, I wrote this two days ago on April 9