25... and nothing to show for it - A Memoir
Hi. I'm Kirstie.
If you're just tuning in, here's a little bit about me.
First of all... Kirstie rhymes with thirsty... (unfortunate, I know). I love wine, whiskey, puppies, and passport stamps. I'm also on a hugeeeee plant kick. Seriously... I've borderline turned my teeny Seoul apartment into a mini-greenhouse.
I'm from a little North Carolina town called Pleasant Garden, and I'm 25 years old...
25 with nothing to show for it.
Since the summer of 2015, (save for the 2 months last year I spent travelling... and the 4 months I was working back home), I've been living and teaching in Asia.
I don't have a car. I don't own an apartment... or any other real estate for that matter. I didn't even own a winter jacket 'til Seoul's third premature snow of the season forced me to layer up.
Until very recently, I was more single than a slice of American cheese... and was making very little progress as far as changing that was concerned.
Shortly after turning 23, I ended a two year relationship, quit my jobs, packed up my life, and left my comfort zone of small town USA to begin teaching in South Korea.
It was a whirlwind... a hectic, challenging, eye-opening, and rewarding whirlwind. As my year contract started to come to an end, I realized I wasn't quite ready to for it to all be over. I wasn't ready to leave my students or to leave Asia... and so I extended my contract for another 6 months.
After completing the extended contract, (and collecting that long-awaited severance money), a very happy Kirst found herself with the largest lump sum of money she had ever had to her name.
Now, I know what you're thinking... I could have returned home... bought myself a car. I could have paid off the majority of my student loans... bought some real estate... or I could have kept it all in the bank for a "rainy day" or whatever.
But hey, ya know what? The reality is - I didn't do any of these "practical" things.
Instead, I sold off most of my belongings. I sent some things home, and packed up the rest in a backpack. I spent the majority of my severance payment, and the money I'd saved throughout the year, on a two month adventure around Asia.
After my southeast Asia adventure, and nearly two years abroad, came to a close, I returned home to the states... to North Carolina... to Pleasant Garden - back where it all started.
A few weeks later, I celebrated my birthday... and just like that, I was 25 flipping years old. I'd lived a QUARTER OF A CENTURY... and, according to some people, had absolutely nothing to show for it. No car. No house. No husband. Not even a boyfriend at the time.
All of a sudden, I was 25... an age at which younger primary school Kirst thought older, adult Kirst would have had things all figured out. Turns out, I didn't and don't have things figured out... not at all. I'm 25, and have nothing to show for it.
Nothing but memories...
Memories of once far-fetched dreams finally come true... Of warm beaches in Indonesia, hot air balloon rides in Australia, magical temples in Myanmar, and mouth-watering sushi in Japan. Motorbike rides through Vietnam, kindy dance parties in South Korea, and New Year's celebrations in Thailand.
I'm 25 and have nothing to show for it.
Nothing but some once-white converses and a whole lot of photos.
Nothing but a larger vocabulary... a new found appreciation for foods and cities whose names I initially couldn't (and, to be honest, still struggle to) pronounce...
I have nothing to show for it but new friends - some found... some found and then lost... and some friends who turned to family - from just about every corner of this pretty blue planet.
I have nothing to show for these 25 years but a few scars, bruises, and burns... physical and emotional. Some from clumsy tumbles after a few too many sojus and others from trusting a few wrong humans along the way.
Maybe I am 25 with nothing to show for it. Maybe I don't own a lot. Maybe I don't have big life plans sorted out. Maybe I don't look as great on paper as some of my peers... BUT I. Am. Living.
I'm a little broken, a little lost, a little confused... but truly living... and not with my eyes closed - Never living the same day twice, or, god forbid, the same year.
I'm experiencing... growing... changing... making mistakes and learning from it all. It's not always easy, but damn am I glad to finally be doing it...
And you can too.
To the dreamers... the drifters... those with an absolutely incurable case of wanderlust. To those who don't really have a plan - This is for you.
We may not have it all figured out... but who does?
This transient lifestyle is not easy. You may be overwhelmed... you may not have it all figured out... friends and family may comment on your age and suggest you have "nothing to show for it" - and they may be right....
Maybe you don't have "things" to show.
...and I don't know about you, but I don't want things... Never have.
You can keep your expensive cars, fancy apartments, and designer clothes.
Give me experiences. Today and everyday.
...I want nothing to show for my life other than that.