I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22! Today is my twenty second birthday, and I’d be lying if I used the typical adult line of oh, I don’t actually like celebrating my birthday that much. I absolutely love birthdays, and I think there’s something so special about celebrating LIFE!
For me, 21 was hands down the most influential, positive year of my life so far. I think there comes a point where you finally feel like you might actually be an adult, and for me it was this year. I felt this sense of self that I’ve never felt before ( like feeling comfortable enough to wear sweatpants and a makeup-free face in public for the first time since I was twelve). I felt some of my most empowered, strong moments of my life and some of my weakest, un-confident moments as well, like moving into my own little house and keeping a night light on for the first few nights. I’ve discovered that twenty-one is about building the life you’ve always imagined and it’s the first time where I can see my future come together in the most spectacular, pee my pants scary, kind of way.
I learned to have more patience in the fact that I can’t always have the outcome I hope for. I am one of those people that reacts quickly and wants to deal with everything as it’s happening, but I began to learn this year that sometimes stepping back and allowing the situation to play out not only makes me see it more clearly, but also usually brings out what is really going on. I learned that having raw conversations can teach you amazing things, and that anyone will share their story if you care enough to listen. I’ve learned that connectedness is all anyone is looking for, and feeling loved is the most coveted feeling there is. I’ve learned that being on my own gives my soul this sense of freedom I’ve never felt before, but I’m also more grateful than ever of familiarity. I’ve learned that growing up changes my relationship with those closest to me, like my parents, and it’s been a bittersweet learning process. I’ve learned that you can be there for someone, but you have to be there for yourself first. I’ve learned that I’m bound to fall a million times, but it’s how I get back up again that matters.
I think you can dream of who exactly you want to be, and this year for me was the time to work my hardest on getting there. As a teenager, it’s all about the future. What do you hope to accomplish? How will you get there? If you could do anything in the world, what would it be? And then when you enter your twenties, you’re thrusted into the world and are expected to make it happen. At 21, you’re suddenly considered to society as a real adult. For me, this was a welcome experience. I grew up wishing I was 40 when I was 4. I never felt like I fit in to “being a kid” and turning 21 was an awakening for me to finally feel like I was who I am supposed to be.
I’m now entering 22 with a desire to continue to follow my passions wherever they may lead, and to always be a risk-taker when it comes to my dreams. But there’s something new I’ve discovered too lurking under the surface. I feel like there’s a new layer to me that’s more complex yet simple than ever before. I feel like I stand a little taller, walk a little stronger, and live a little more vibrantly. I see life in a unique perspective while carrying with me the small seeds from the yesterdays. Every day I become more of me, but I’m also still the same girl who knows every word to any Disney song, who wishes upon stars, who finds the smallest thing that makes the biggest impact, and who believes she’ll be a kick-butt princess that will save the world. I’m learning now that I already am. Living is in this moment, the train has come, and I’m hopping on. Here’s to my 22nd trip around the sun.
Thanks to Haileigh for taking the fun birthday photos.