Last month, I drafted at least 4 or 5 posts to publish on my birthday, November 30th, about all of the amazing things I accomplished as a 24-year-old and all my hopes and dreams for my 25th year of life.
My 24th year was rich with travel, friendship, music, art, unexpected risks and rewards, and a lot of personal growth.
Writing a brag list (or several) was a great opportunity for self-reflection, but I never published any of those posts because the act of diminishing each singular, extraordinary moment of my 24th year to a mere bullet point in a list for the sake of highlighting my “incredible” life to the (imaginary) masses felt really uncomfortable.
For one thing, every time that I publish a post, I want to be sure that it serves a purpose. I want to only write pieces that benefit other people or benefit myself. I don’t like listicles for the sake of listicles, and I don’t want to write a bragging piece for the sake of showing off how awesome my 24th year was.
It just felt disingenuous to publish that list, rather than giving every memory the time and attention it deserves.
I grew so much in my 24th year and I am infinitely happier now than I was a year ago, but all of the things on my “Top Memories of 24” list feel so distant now that I’m back in the 9-5 (10-6) grind and almost like they happened to another person.
Life is like that. When you are in a routine, or even in a place, it seems to be the only life that has existed and who you were in another land or time or memory becomes foggy and disconnected. The benefits of my travels and free time are still sizable, but my appreciation for that time feels like it is fading.
I think this is why travel blogging is so popular, and so important. There are a million travel bloggers out there who write about their journeys, and while many of them do it in hopes of monetizing their travels, the biggest benefit seems to be in taking the time to appreciate the moments you are experiencing abroad more fully, and to make those memories concrete and everlasting.
The ability to visit a past self, to recall what Stacey of 8 months ago in Cambodia was thinking and feeling, is invaluable. But putting those memories in a simple list would have cheapened the value of truly revisiting that time and recapturing who I was and what I learned, not to mention the true value for anyone reading.
I’m going to make more of an effort to blog about my Southeast Asia trip, and other trips I’ve taken. I’m also going to make more of an effort to write about my life, thoughts, and experiences in New York, and share all the things I find of value while I’m charting my course through the world. I encourage you to do the same! Don’t let great memories and lessons disappear from inattention.
I am looking forward to year 25 being filled with even more memories, even more self-reflection, and even more joy than my 24th!