Reflections: 23

Nicole
4 min readMar 16, 2024

What I Learned During My 23rd Trip Around The Sun

Images from Pinterest, curated by author Nicole

On my 23rd trip around the sun, I gave myself grace.

I took time to do things I wanted, said no to ideas or people that were not serving me, and gave myself grace for what I was trying to achieve. I took life slow and moved at a pace that gave me comfort and security. I tried events that made me anxious and declined ones that were just too much. I gave myself grace for the things I could and could not handle. I was patient with myself and that was one of the greatest lessons I could've ever learned. “I am giving myself grace.”

On my 23rd trip around the sun, I lived many lives.

In that same year, I read over 91 books and traveled into 91 different worlds. That's a lot of lives to live in just one year. I found new favorite books, related to characters I'll never meet, and formed a sense of community through my shared passion for reading on social media sites. I became obsessed with my literature.

On my 23rd trip around the sun, I documented a lot.

From writing to photographs to videos to websites, I documented every inch of my beautiful existence and am genuinely thankful for that. I filmed new adventures and wrote out the deepest of feelings. I got published in a book and started my novel. I started journaling every day and filling notebooks filled with thoughts again. My writing is who I am.

On my 23rd trip around the sun, I gained incredible knowledge.

From earning my Master's Degree to becoming a Registered Yoga Teacher, I gained immense knowledge in just under a year. From my training in healing modalities to my formal education, I found a passion for so many different topics that will stay with me for the rest of my life. I gained over 1 formal degree, 8 educational professional certifications, 2 tourism certifications, a boating license, a CPR/First Aid/AED certification, and 7 healing modality-specific licenses and certifications. 23 was all about learning to the next level.

On my 23rd trip around the sun, I lost friends and family but strengthened those connections I had prior.

Some of the friendships I have now, even miles apart, are the strongest ones I've ever felt. Loss will continue to happen, but so will the game of life. Losing my grandmother unexpectedly was extremely hard and something that will last for a very long time. Friendship separations from ones I thought would last a lifetime hurt in a way I never felt before. At least I can still fall asleep saying I'm still trying to meet those lifelong friends and I will continue on doing so. Nothing is permanent in this world, except the action of trying.

On my 23rd trip around the sun, I tried new things.

I never thought I would pick up my bike again and start loving my bike rides. Or learning new hobbies like crocheting — which has ultimately become my entire personality (not precisely, but you know). I learned how to drive again after experiencing terrible anxiety that left me housebound for months. I tried smoothie bowls and different types of chicken wraps. I learned how to sew and how to take more candid professional photographs of strangers. I read more tarot cards and memorized new decks. I tried roasted red pepper hummus and guacamole with friends. I got a new job and lost that same job, but I tried a new experience all in all. (Note to self, I am not a law writer, and nor do I enjoy it, LOL). New boba tea spots became a fun adventure, and getting into fantasy books was something I'd never done before. I tried so many new things and experiences.

On my 23rd trip around the sun, I felt heartbreak and felt love.

For something that feels very personal to share, 23 was hard. I found parts of myself I never knew existed and felt emotions I never thought I would again. 23 was explorative, 23 was messy for a few months, and 23 was loving. I felt the most heart-wrenching ache of pain and the absolute best joy in the world. 23 was filled with emotion and I’m so glad I got to sit with those feelings, document them, and express them in ways that inspired me.

On my 23rd trip around the sun, I remembered how much I love water.

Being a Pisces water sign, I love water — yet 23 reminded me just how much I really need it. Water became my best friend, from spending hours in the pool to days in the ocean. I needed a spot to clear my head, breathe, and release thoughts. Water is who I am, what we are made up of. The ocean made me remember.

On my 23rd trip around the sun, I felt beautiful.

Most days, more than not, I felt truly truly beautiful being 23. I gained self-confidence, unlike any other feeling I've ever felt before. I loved how I looked at times. I felt truly beautiful being in the sun. I wore less makeup and took many photos. I want to remember myself being this young. I want to remember myself feeling this beautiful. I want to remember me.

Thank you, twenty-three. For being the most hardworking, dedicated, emotionally charged, and passionate year I’ve experienced yet. May the experiences get crazier, the friends get sillier, and the body gets stronger.

Here’s to 24.

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Nicole

Freelance writer, travel & lifestyle blogger, artsy human, and full of thoughts.