The Best Years

As a young woman in my twenties, I am constantly told to cherish this particular decade of my life. From the moment we leave our teens, we twenty-somethings are bombarded with the notion that these are the best years of our lives – a belief heralded by parents, families, older siblings, and colleagues alike. Recently I’ve begun to question the validity of this trope, wondering if they actually believe one’s twenties to be the most sacred or are simply nostalgic for the freedom of their younger days – before babies, mortgages, marriage and the stereotypical trappings of adulthood.  There is no doubt that one’s twenties are a pivotal time: filled with endless growth and fuck-ups that are (more often than not) easily forgiven and written off as a consequence of being said twenty-something. But now, newly 26, complete with countless triumphs, missteps, victories and failures under my belt and only somewhat of an idea of where my life is going I have to wonder: are these truly the best years?

I have never wanted a typical life, nor did I ever expect to have everything figured out by 30. My mom says that I am just like her at 26 – adventurous, willful and relatively unfazed by the future. There is certainly privilege in this overtly positive mentality that things work out as they should and there is no need to fight it, and its with this mindset that I have so far lived. Despite the frequent occasional “wtf am I doing” moment, I believe I have lived as a twenty-something to almost a comical tee. I graduated after living out the American college girl fantasy, equipped with a solid education, relationships and experiences that I will never forget.

I have been able to call New York City home for four years, which in itself is insane, but also unbelievably awesome to the point where sometimes I don’t even believe it (though I quickly remember when I see a rat scurry across the platform.) Working has afforded me the opportunity to explore the beginnings of a career in the entertainment world, and to go to more shows and festivals and create more memories than I can count. With the freedom to pursue my interests, I have learned more about myself and what I want in life, which in itself is a gift. There have been countless drinks, dates, apartments, 6am cab rides home from Bushwick, several awkward interviews, tears, bad decisions, trips, mini-tragedies, rooftop sunrises, missteps and little miracles. It has been a ride, but to think I have peaked would be more depressing than anything.

The freedom of this time is something that I know will not last forever, especially if I take the decidedly normal approach to life and settle down at some point. That luxury of having only to worry about the self, of being able to act on a whim is sacred and perhaps limited in its capacity as we grow older, but I am of the belief that freedom is not a privilege reserved for the young. There is no reason why my 30s, 40s, and 50s can’t be equally as awesome, though perhaps in a different way than my roaring 20s. I do not want to look back on this time as the best years of my life, but more so a blank canvas wherein the foundation is being laid for an ever-amazing, badass life.

 

 

Graduation Weekend

I knew this day was coming for weeks. I was counting down, preparing myself emotionally, and giving myself time to come to grips with the fact that by May 18th I would be moving out and leaving Oxford for the very last time. I told myself that this was not the end per se, that all good things do eventually reach their end, and that it was okay to cry (which I did drunkenly at one of our favorite bars a few weeks prior to graduation during “Young, Wild, and Free”…no judgement.) Given my acceptance of the eventual ending of my college career and what I truly believe have been the best years of my life (so far), I thought I would be completely prepared once the day came for us to don our caps and gowns and participate in our final ceremony. I was not.

The entire weekend was a dream, one that I still cannot believe was reality. Given that the underclassmen had all left for the summer, the campus was a desolate haven for Seniors and their families. We owned Oxford, and we were basking in all of our accomplishments and glory. The happiness was palatable from Uptown and throughout campus. In true Miami fashion, we went out the night before graduation and it may actually been the most fun we have ever had. And we’ve had A LOT of fun these past four years. I filmed a video but I think I’m just going to keep that one to myself. Here’s a photo though.

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The evening before graduation, my best friends and I roamed the campus, revisiting some of our favorite places and taking some group photos. We visited our freshman year dorm on North Quad where our friendships began, very randomly and abruptly. We also stopped by the signature Seal, slant walk, and the Upham Arch. I got a little teary eyed during the shoot but luckily I was able to somehow keep it together. These girls have been everything to me and I do not even want to envision a life without them. Here is one of the shots we got. Yeah, we cute.

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Graduation morning was a blur. We all shook off our hangovers and got our apartment ready for our family and friends, who were coming from all parts of the country to celebrate with us. I proceeded to attempt to get cute for my parents who had just driven 12 hours to be with me, and in the process had no time to think about anything let alone dwell on my sadness of leaving. Between running around the apartment, leaving for Yager, and walking into the stadium in front of thousands of families, friends, and professors, it seems like the day lasted an hour though I know it was truly 12 hours of pandemonium. It is hard to explain the feeling of entering that stadium and the swell of pride I think we all felt in that moment. It was shock, awe, disbelief, and pure joy all at once. Having Forrest Whitaker as our keynote speaker was an equally unreal experience, as his words of wisdom and encouragement were beyond anything I could have asked for. We are an extremely lucky class to have had him speak to us on such a momentous occasion.

Here are some photos from throughout the day. I think they speak for themselves!

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I know that I have led an amazing life at Miami, and I also know that there is so much more for me to see and experience in my post-graduation life. I can’t wait to see where everyone takes their talents and how they utilize all that they have learned at Miami in their respective fields. We are all growing into adults, but I will always fondly remember us as the students who had the time of our lives while simultaneously absorbing a wealth of knowledge only Miami could provide for us. I now know that graduation day is not one you can truly prepare for, and it’s one you will likely never forget.

 

Broken Clock

Friday with my favorite girls 🙂 (at The Woods)

Travel

Just got word that there weeks from now I will be in Los Angeles with @starrb421!! And the adventures of Sam & Ella continue 💛

Nat & I

👭💕 Me & Nat at The Woods. Typical Saturday in Oxford.

Friends

Last night’s adventures with the lovely Kiaya 😘 Shoes from Steve Madden, top from Buffalo Exchange, Forever 21 skirt.

Cut Off

I believe my basis for my unwavering understanding, patience, and positive outlook is being raised by a very supportive and generally family. Despite everything that has happened in my life I am still always able to see the good in people, no matter what they do. While I always saw this as a good thing, I realize it is certainly more of a handicap than anything as I see how, like many people, I have been taken advantage of. 

I have never been a fan of burning bridges. But after much thought it is clear that despite what I was raised to think, most people simply do not deserve more than one chance, and it is best to let unsatisfying relationships end. It is important to take time to just evaluate those in your circle and cut off any weak ends. These are the questions I have been asking myself to help me out:

  • Do the people around me make me more miserable than they make me happy?
  • Do the people around me add to my life in a positive and constructive way?
  • Are the relationships with these people one sided or equally reciprocated in terms of effort and support?
  • What do these people bring to your life that you cannot get from anywhere else?

A close friend told me that forgiveness is not a right, its a privilege, and this is something I finally understand. There is only so much an individual can take, and this year I am doing myself a favor and being a little selfish. So with that, it’s time for some of you to go.