An open letter to my 34th year on Earth

Dear 34, 

I didn’t think I would be writing one of these again… But, it appears to have worked well last year, so I’m making it a thing.

First things first: you, my dear friend, have been a pleasant surprise. After the clusterfuck that was 33, I wasn’t expecting much. Still, I leapt into your arms with pizzazz at midnight 365 days ago, and I must say, you didn’t disappoint! You caught me, dealt with my foul mood, and told me to stop whining. Then, you proceeded to give me 12 months of what I’m calling “reward season”.

For every door closed during the year-long period of “persistent heartburn” that was 33, you told me to work harder, put on another (snazzier) outfit and knock again. Reapply, revise, resubmit, rethink, readjust… and, would you look at that: it worked every time! Hell, it sent me to Oxford this summer, which I will rank as one of the best experiences of my life. 

On that vein, you’ve also brought some fantastic humans into my life… people I have zero intention of letting go, because they make me smile from ear to ear and add immense value to my world. 

Truth be told, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing. At times it has felt like you put me in overdrive: I’ve literally been on 29 planes this year. Da fuk. And, dissertating is no joke – a very lonely task that has put my anxiety on overdrive. Yet, every project I embarked in has been full of personal growth. Teaching may have been ridiculously time-consuming, but simultaneously kick-ass and über rewarding. Plus, we never gave up on raising funds and working hard for Barranquitas. Now we’re seeing the direct impact these efforts are having on people’s lives, which is more than I ever dreamed. 

But I think the best part has been a new-found sense of confidence. Instead of sulking, you’ve inspired me to listen to my inner self and do whatever the hell I want.  The writing spurt that started with 33 has continued – I finally started blogging about random things that pop into my head, which has interestingly been a great way to decompress and remind myself that putting yourself out there may be scary, but vulnerability is good.

Oh, and the bangs are here to stay. Rockin’ highlights now. Who knows – maybe I’ll go full blonde with 35. It makes sense, if I plan on still being an annoying ray of sunshine.

So, 34, thank you! You will be fondly remembered. Tonight at midnight, I will take your lessons with me as I embark on a 8,760-hour long rendezvous with Mr. 35. Hopefully, he isn’t a distracting fella… as I DO have to write a dissertation, and all.



Author: Yona María

Yona is a native Puerto Rican who splits her time between Puerto Rico and whatever U.S. city she currently calls home. She's now finishing up her PhD in public health and social media research. She loves writing about a little bit of everything and sharing her thoughts on life.

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