Updated: Sep 20, 2019
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When I stopped to pose for this photo, I couldn’t help but think that even though tonight’s post would be about the “spirit of Jordan,” the movement of my hands here was more like that of an orchestral conductor than any quality shot I’ve ever seen in the game of basketball. It’s funny though, how closely related the two motions can be. I mean, think about the muscle movements involved- arms, hands, shoulders, etc. Both actions require similar functions although the muscles are being used for different objectives. Isn’t that interesting? In fact, the very thought of this actually brings me to consider the similarities between so many of our interests and aspirations of life in general, how much of the work required to build our individual successes tend to utilise the same muscles or tools regardless of the intended outcome.
So there I was, standing in front of a wall with my head tilted slightly upward as I gazed into the camera. “What a day,” I thought. By 4:31pm, I had officially entered into my 23rd year of life, and every part of me was certain that this would be the best year yet. I have plans for all my creative and business endeavours, and I’m even working a plan to support those I’ve connected with in the creative community over recent months. Especially since I’ve gone through quite a tough battle with my health, I deeply believe in my own power- that nothing in this world is great enough to stop me. Furthermore, I have always held an optimistic outlook on whatever it is I’ve chosen to do. That’s why I’m so excited for this new chapter! While that which lies ahead is truly the “great unknown,” I am marching forward (more like gracefully gliding down each road as if each were an international runway) with the life-sustaining forces of positive energy and truth.
“The end of one year offers the beginning of another, and such is the rhythm of life.
I wonder what this revolution will bring for me.”
As I enter my 23rd year of life this Sunday, October 28th, I thought it would be interesting to seek out inspiration in the individual memories and experiences of those who have already lived through this chapter of existence. Given that the number 23 is often considered special or lucky, as it was the number worn by Michael Jordan (the greatest basketball player ever to have lived), I wanted to honour this sentiment and embrace its positive energy as I turn a new page in my own story. Here are the two questions I asked a select group of individuals who have inspired me in one way or another. View their responses below:
In your experience, what is it like to be 23?
23 is often revered as one the greatest numbers, arguably, much of that credit can be given to Michael Jordan (statistically the greatest basketball player of all time). When I mention the “Spirit of Jordan,” what is the first thing that comes to your mind?
DeSanto: “It's crazy, honestly. It wasn't that long ago that I was in high school and wondering what I would do someday. Now, here I am living out my answer.”
Dolezal: “Being 23 was intense. I was married and in my second year of graduate school at 23 and experienced childbirth for the first time (I was in labor for 94 hours before my son was born).”
Gabrielle: “23 is the year I truly begin to shed my adolescence and enter adulthood. I embraced the unknown of what lay ahead with a strong fervor and agency, forcing out the stories and habits that were no longer serving me.”
McGee: “Twenty-three was my age of discovery. At twenty-three, I was graduating college and trying to figure out life. The post-graduation blues are REAL. You find yourself reflecting on the time, money, and energy exuded over the last 4 years and struggle to find your place and purpose in the real world.”
Villalobos: “You feel like you’re finally a “twenty-something-year-old” once you’ve reached 23. In my experience, this year is the year for exploring the world like you’ve never been able to before. At this point, we get to follow what truly moves and inspires us. I’ve discovered that I now have all of the opportunities to strive to reach my dreams as a young human. There’s so much to do, places to go, and people to meet that it feels like being at the biggest intersection in the world, with infinite ways of molding our lives while we discover who we are. Although I sometimes feel like I’m working towards ”getting my life together” I like to see it more like putting together a big and beautiful puzzle, the pieces being all of the different aspects of my life. I cannot wait to see what 24 will feel like.”
DeSanto: “I think of reaching the pinnacle of one's success. I think of rising to the top of your given field or career and flourishing.”
Dolezal: “I wish 23 was as liberating for me as the Spirit of Jordan on his rise to grandeur. It wasn’t until I was age 26 that I learned to embrace my full self and found my groove in life.”
Gabrielle: “Hearing “The Spirit of Jordan,” I immediately get a sense of “I can do anything.” There are no limits to what is possible and this is only the beginning.”
McGee: “The first thing that comes to my mind when referring to the "spirit" of Michael Jordan, are his many quotes regarding hard work and failure; One being, "I can accept failure, but I cannot accept not trying." I wholeheartedly believe that the trials of life will bring us to our divine purpose.”
Villalobos: “An aura of confidence”
I love each of these responses, because while their lives are very different, each of these beautiful individuals shared an honest and eye-opening reflection of their experience as someone who lived through the year 23. Much like Mike DeSanto, I feel like it was just a short while ago that I found myself walking across the stage to receive my highschool diploma, and if I had to sum up my years of adulthood so far in just one word, “crazy” might do it. But even as I read the remarks of Rachel Dolezal, I know that I’ll never endure the physical experience of 94 hour child labour, however, that which lies ahead will undoubtedly become my most “intense” year yet. As I read further, I found myself inspired by Abra Gabrielle, Tanya McGee, and Yadira Villalobos, each having shared an expression of a deeper self-awareness.
In social culture, being 23 is often referred to as being in your “Jordan Year.” This has been widely accepted as a positive thing, and part of me wanted to see if that correlation really hit home for the individuals who were kind enough to answer my questions for this writing. Without manipulating their responses by asking them to correlate, I requested their general thoughts, and simply hoped they would be as honest as they know how. What they had to say was truly amazing to me, and even though it all the answers weren’t necessarily contextualised with the year 23 in mind, I find it has given me a fuller outlook on my own “Jordan Year.”
While I don’t expect the year 23 to be the “pinnacle of success” for any of us, I certainly believe that if we put in the work, we would see ourselves rising to the top wherever we are. And the truth that Rachel shared is quite the inspiration! 23 was not as liberating as she may have hoped, looking back it seems to have been more of a beginning than anything else. Abra’s immediate emotional response of “I can do anything” really resonates with me, as that is exactly what I feel in this moment of life. I also love Tanya’s expression that the “trials of life will bring us to our divine purpose.”
Whatever this life will bring, I am certain I am ready. In terms of the “Spirit of Jordan,” I intentionally asked a question without developing a conclusive thought because, in a way, what I really wanted was to willingly influence the forces of inspiration in my network. I believe what I received is nothing short of amazing, and I am thankful for each individual’s participation. I am taking Yadira’s interpretation of Jordan’s spirit, and consciously embracing “an aura of confidence” as I step into the 23rd year of my incredible life.
Peace, Love + Light. KI.
Special thanks to the following contributors for giving life to this post!
Writer for PickinSplinters
Photography Contributor at Kiruniverse, ent.