by Kayla Parks

Every month I compare where I am and what I’m doing to what my life was like during that time the year before. Every time it’s different.

Sometimes the weeks and months drag on when each day feels forgettable. Sometimes I’ll cross out calendar days until my tiny little life has something exciting or important or even miserable looming ahead. But then I think back on the changes of the past twelve months. The changes that happen in one year are things that I could never even imagine.

The years since I lived in Chicago have been years of constant change. Friendships ended or strengthened. I had a new job or three every year. Relationships with men were good or bad or both at the same time. I moved into a new apartment almost every summer. I became so much smarter about the world, while also becoming so much more lost in it.

This summer, with my new job and new home in St. Paul, I have a feeling that I could very easily become a settled, grown-ass adult living in Minnesota. And the thought of settling down right now is quite unsettling because now, I am free.

 I’m free to decide the direction my life, though it surely will not go as planned. I’m free to go on silly dates and not cook and write about style and curl my hair for an hour.  I’m free to not wear pants at home with a face mask on and I’m free to feel awesome about it.

I have an almost photographic memory. Basically, if I think long and hard enough, I can describe in detail everything meaningful or mundane that has ever happened, like it happened just yesterday. I could write down the millions of stories and mistakes and the weird shit I’ve done each week, month, year, and on and on. That material, however, will be documented and chronicled for my future memoir. And no, I’m not presumptuous enough to write a memoir as girl who’s just becoming a person in the world.

No, as a woman who is 25 and free, life for me is just beginning.