Twenty years. That’s how long I’ve been alive. Two decades.
Like any birthday, it doesn’t feel any different from the day before. And anyway, the reality is that I still am the same person, just a day older than yesterday, and a year older than the last.
Somehow, though, it does feel different when I think about it. Twenty is the age of an adult, of someone who has started to develop an idea of what they would like their life to be. Yet I don’t feel like an adult, and I certainly haven’t figured out what I want my life to be. It’s not the responsibilities that I don’t feel up to speed with, but rather the idea of my future.
When I was younger, I used to count down the years until I was out of school. I remember in elementary school saying to myself on the playground “seven more years”, and in high school “only four more years.” A seed is planted very early on in a child’s life about the guidelines of how a person’s life goes. You go to school, go to college, get married, have kids, have a career and die. I don’t ever remember a time when I was younger that I thought of any other way to do it. I used to think about when I turn twenty. I imagined I would probably be in college, and moved out of my parent’s house and have a job and a boyfriend, and all that. I told myself in a non-blatant way, that I would be cooler, and better when I was twenty. I would know what I want to do, and have the guts to do it.
I imagined myself as someone else. Or rather, I imagined the pure soul of myself. I imagined myself with all the confidence I didn’t have at the time. I imagined my true, uninterrupted self, that only exists in a world where Eve didn’t eat the apple.
Nonetheless, I thought that by the time I was twenty, I won’t be so nervous, and so quiet, and so worried of what people think. I never considered the fact that I would still be the same person I was, and that my self-issues wouldn’t go away overnight.
While it is true that I have changed over the years, some things for the worse, and some for the better, I am still the same person. I used to think when I was younger “I hope I don’t become one of those partying kids”, and things like that. But I guess I never realized that I still would be the same person.
So where does that leave me? Well, I didn’t become one of those partying kids. However, I still haven’t grown into my confidence. I still don’t know what I want to do with anything in my life. Frankly, I don’t even like the idea of a “traditional” life. The pros and cons of going to college constantly weigh in my head. Besides realizing that being able to go to community college isn’t a given, I’m not even sure it’s what I want to do. In this day and age, I’m not fond of marriage, but hey, I haven’t even fallen in love yet. I still don’t plan on having kids, but my mind is licensed to change. I live with my parents, and wouldn’t have the money to move out anyway. If I didn’t currently have a job on hold, it would be a reck for me to try to find another.
What I know right now is that I want to be a writer. I want to do so many things, and be so many things, but above all, I want to be a writer. And that is all I have ever truly wanted to be.
The life ideal that is practically stamped on our foreheads is just ridiculous. Because two summers ago, when I realized I didn’t know what to do about college, and a job, and my “life”, I sunk to the lowest I’ve ever been. My mind was so wrapped up in the fact that “I failed”, that I could not focus on living. The time had come for me to start my life, but I had no idea how to start it. Truthfully, I still don’t know how. The difference is that just a year ago, I had let that get to me. I had based how I saw myself and who I was around the fact that I was still confused. I hated that I was so unprepared, and I wasted my time with the feeling of being a failure at life.
Twenty years. Yet I feel so much older. Everything in the past seems like it happened in another life. I’m not proud of how I used to be, but I won’t deny it. If I hadn’t gotten so low, I might not have come up to where I am now. Every thing I’ve been through, each day, each year, has only helped me learn about what truly matters and that it is okay that I haven’t figured my life out yet. There’s nothing to “figure out” anyway.
I’ve come so far in the last year that there is no way the number twenty can describe me. It’s been less than a year really, since I’ve grown. This time last year I was hardly able to open my eyes, only to have them glued back shut in the spring. However, my fall and winter were polar opposites from last year. For once I feel like I have learned how to keep my eyes open, and that even if they do close for a little while, that is okay.
I still feel like a kid at heart, but I think most people probably do. When we were kids, we had no worries, no self-consciences. We were our most pure selves when we were kids. And I think we probably spend our adult lives trying to get back to that. Some of us spend more time than others. Most of us have to get there the hard way. But I assure you it’s worth returning to, and it’s a lot easier than we make it.
I am lucky that I have already started opening my eyes at such a young age. It hopefully saves me the whole midlife crisis deal. Plus, I have become much smarter and wiser, just in the past few months. With everything that happens in my life, I can only grow wiser.
It is true that I still am the same person I was ten years ago, and five years ago. Yet in each moment, I am growing. In each moment, I have the ability to be my true self. I will be stronger and wiser than I was yesterday, and each day that passes hitherto.
Twenty years. I am thankful for all the shit I had to go through, and all the pain I put myself through. I am thankful that I was smart enough not to let those things kill me. I am thankful for moving three times, and realizing that home isn’t any place. I am thankful for this past year of indecision, depression, and awakening. And of course, as cheesy as it sounds, I am thankful for having been alive these past twenty years.
Thank you, God.