23 → 24

I turned 24 a couple days ago.

Here is where I’m at:

I said last year I wanted to be better at balance. I’ve gotten better — but I’m still not quite there. It still feels like every hour I spend not working or improving is wasted.

I’ve been reading more. I’ve been writing more, too — but not publishing enough. (This is the part where I say I’ll change that — and I want to! — but I probably won’t. I’ve become less selective with what I write but more selective with what I publish.)

I left the best job I’ve ever had to take an even better one. This is still mostly terrifying, but in a good way: the same way I was terrified the first month of college, the same way I was terrified the first month of Seattle. I think small, periodic doses of terror are generally a sign that I’m going in the right direction into uncharted territory.

Last week, my partner moved in with me. We survived Ikea. I helped her install shelves above her ergonomic desk; we engaged in furious debate about where the picnic table belongs. Things are very good. We have bought plants; we plan to buy more plants.

My two happiest moments of being 23: sitting at an anonymous bar in Florence with my best friend, sipping a pair of negronis and idly munching on a tray of chips; trespassing into a private beach with a faux lighthouse with my partner in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to catch a Magikarp.

I spent the past few weeks playing Chrono Trigger, a game I started when I was 8 years old and never finished. It is a better game than I realized when I was a kid: it is a game about the things time does to us, and the ways we change over a journey.

I finished the game yesterday, after starting it sixteen years ago. It feels important to finish these games I started a long time ago. It feels important to carry these things through to conclusion.

I am looking at a couple boxes of old things sitting in the corner of my living room, waiting to be carried to the recycling bin or Goodwill or wherever you’re supposed to dispose of electronics: some games, some books, some clothes, an Xbox, a rat’s king of wires and controllers, a few knit ties. Some of these things are not important enough to keep; some of these things are too important to keep. I am usually liberal with what I throw away, but in this most recent move into a new apartment I have been very liberal, as if finally admitting that I’ll probably never reread my copy of Our Mutual Friend or really need to wear a bow tie more than once every few years. These admissions are healthy, but still feel like they carry some weight to them.

If 24 is like the tail end of 23, it is like this:

The days are getting shorter; the nights are getting shorter. I am going to bed more tired and more happy. I am remembering to take my vitamins; I am remembering to water my plants. I own stamps and scotch and a bathrobe. I still drink the occassional red bull vodka, but I also eat the occassional salad. Little by little, I am becoming an adult, like tiny freckles of maturity are starting to bloom across my back.

But some parts of me are refusing to change: I still wear sandals in inappropriate weather. I still cannot resist the urge to redesign my website every few months (check back in a couple weeks for that).

I am still, after all these years, playing Chrono Trigger, and losing myself in the Kingdom of Zeal.

If 24 is like today, it is like this:

It is fall in Seattle. It has been crisp for the past few days. This morning I had to dig out a box of sweaters, and put on my first cardigan of the season. My partner and I took turns commandeering the Aeropress, and I spent the morning idly shopping for new slippers. I have to go to the gym soon, but for now I am listening to Dntel and writing and feeling very much at peace.

I hope you’re doing well, too.

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Justin Duke is a writer and developer in Seattle.
He likes good, practical things.
(And writing in the third person, I guess.)


@justinmduke
me@jmduke.com