Those closest to me have endured the past few weeks with the constant mention of “Jordan Year.” For those who aren’t familiar with the term, it originates from the legend himself, Michael Jordan who sported the number 23 on his basketball jersey. In parallel to his great accomplishments, maintaining one of the greatest careers in history, the age 23 is said to be the best year yet.
Perhaps I have said the term too many times, explained the meaning with too much enthusiasm, and veered off into too long a tangent about my optimistic views on turning 23. But that’s because I don’t know about you, I wasn’t really feeling 22. Shortly after turning twenty-two, I graduated from college, moved to a brand new city, and began the daunting yet exhilarating task of navigating post-grad life and New York City.
When the new charm of the city faded, subway routes became the norm, and the first wave of loneliness and isolation settled in, I felt blindsided with a feeling of regret and confusion. I began to question my decision to uproot my life to NYC. I had envisioned enjoying post-grad life after having spent the past 16 years enrolled in school with complete enthusiasm for this new era in my life. It has been almost exactly 365 days since, and the end of this month marks the end of my post-grad era.
I’ve learned to find beauty in the rhythm that life is lived in seasons. I consider myself fortunate to have grown up and attended college in states that experienced all four seasons. I believe life unfolds in a similar pattern. Though it may not be distinctly every 12 or so weeks, when I reflect, I find distinctions between the periods in my life and the fruitfulness that each season bears.
The summer after completing college was filled with bright, new adventures as I checked off my mental bucket list one NYC tourist destination at a time. Fall came around and just as the weather was transitioning to cooler temperatures, I too began to feel the loss of the city’s light and warmth. The dark winter days were also my darkest days, when even getting out of bed in the morning was a daunting task. I recall my brother coming to visit me, and when it was time for him to get on his flight home, I grew anxious and began crying, feeling paralyzed by the feeling of loneliness that would return as soon as he walked out of the apartment door.
Spring represents a new season of my life. The cold, cloudy days transitioned to bright and sunny ones. I notice beautiful flowers blooming on my walks, and I’m beginning to see the beauty in New York City once again. When I began using the quiet, lonely moments as times of personal reflection, I found truth in the saying “life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forward.” I discovered that though I may question the purpose of present the present, I was sowing seeds for a future season.
Tropical countries only observe two main seasons -- summer and monsoon. And just as the magnitude and intensity of monsoon season affects the crops of summer, I believe that the depth of the darkness and the gravity of challenges we experience during one season can affect the seasons to come. I take comfort in this. I am reminded when I am in the midst of a difficult season, wishing for the pain or sadness to dissipate, that the suffering of today will provide a stark contrast for the joys of tomorrow. I have learned that I would not have the full capability to enjoy the joyous, sunny seasons had I not persevered and weathered the tumultuous darkness of a stormy one.
Since weathering the storms of 22, I am truly looking forward to 23. A study published by the London School of Economics found that out of 23,161 survey participants between ages 17 to 85, age 23 was considered to be the peak of life satisfaction. I’m convinced that just like Jordan’s career, twenty-three is going to be the GOAT (greatest of all time). And if it’s not, there’s always Kobe Year (24).