XXIV.

By Jamari Jordan

I have a weird relationship with holidays. Granted, very few relationships I have are not weird, but holidays may be the most obscure. 

Did I look forward to my GameBoy, PSP, and Xbox every Christmas? Was I the first person at the table when the Mac n’ Cheese came out the oven on Thanksgiving? Absolutely. Have I suffered my fair share of sugar comas on Halloween? Unfortunately so. 

However, my strangest relationship is with my birthday. I do not fear getting old, quite the opposite. If you let anyone tell you, I’m already a 70-year old, retired man who just yells at kids to get off his lawn. 

I dislike the attention. I am not a big fan of eyes being on me. In fact, that inkling is probably why I like to work behind the camera. Everyone has an opinion on the subject in front of the lens, yet the one snapping the photo rarely is questioned and scrutinized. 

I understand how ironic that seems seeing how I am writing about myself on my blog. More than likely, I promoted this entry in a tweet asking for people to read it, but the sentiment still holds true. Nonetheless, I know how to enjoy my birthday.

When I was younger, I got the new NCAA Football game every year. I cannot think of a better way to enjoy a new year of life than humiliating Florida 42-0 with Georgia. 

Of course, I had my cake and ice cream. Although, if it’s not Publix cake with the buttercream frosting, keep your evil, mediocre cake away from me. Yet, I get this feeling of remorse. Not for the things that I have done, rather the things that I have yet to do.

My “survivor’s remorse” drives me a lot more than I realize or care to admit.Not too many black men in America get to see 24 especially when police, Starbucks employees, and nosy white ladies on their phones seem to be involved.

So, on July 16th, I start questioning: why me? Why did God choose me to be alive when the Trayvon Martins, Mike Browns, Kendrick Johnsons, and Tamir Rices are no longer here? What purpose am I meant to fulfill? I like to think I get closer to that answer every year, but that very well may be wishful thinking. I hope my purpose is tied to my passion of story-telling and shaping narratives. I believe that it’s bigger than me. It has to be. 

24 isn’t a milestone year, but I feel pressure bearing down on my neck. I see my friends excelling in their careers, engaged, and some starting families of their own (keep all of the latter far, far away from me). 

Some of my friends are already planing their next step forward and I feel like I’m just now getting my footing. Comparison isn’t just the thief of joy; it destroys any semblance of happiness in your life. 

So, here’s to 24 being a statement year. Hopefully, this is the year I finally gain perspective. From middle school through college, I was the friend who planned his next step. I was too focused on my next move that I forgot to enjoy where I currently stood. 

In high school, the goal was always college and UGA. In college, my next step was my career. Now as an adult, the next step isn’t so easy to plan. It’s not as chronological or predictable as college seemed.

Everyone has a different pace and aspirations. The end goal isn’t more important than the journey. In fact, it’s mostly the inverse. As an adult, the lessons and information you learn about yourself on the way most times outweigh the end result. Maybe I’ll celebrate my 25th next year if I’m blessed.

It’s tough to enjoy 24. There’s no signature, best of all-time type athlete attached to that number. I’m sorry… how could I forget Ken Griffey Jr. and Charles Woodson? They’re the only two I can think of. 

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