I am another year older. I (finally) turned that magical age of 21 and it’s weird that now it is not just close but is here. Yeah, this birthday was different because I got to do new, fun things (talking about you Bloomington bars) but it was also kind of the same.
I was surrounded by the people I love and who love me most. I was so celebrated. I ate cake and good food. All my favorite things. And I don’t really feel older or wiser until I look back at where I was a year ago and I am honestly blown away at where I was a year ago and where I am now.
Since my 19th birthday freshmen year, one of the ways my years have been marked have been the silly number I program into the elliptical at the gym. When I switched from punching in the ‘1’ to a ‘2’ first, it felt weird and old, like how am I a whole two decades old. But really at my core I felt very much so the same. This birthday I felt different because this past year I was so growth minded. I lived away from home and with people I had never met, I learned to actually deal with my feelings and emotions, I invested in people and relationship and gained SO MUCH. I have learned how to cry, how to laugh so hard, how to put work aside and have fun, that money is meant to be spent, that I value experiences so much more than things, that adventure is always out there and the only things I regret are the things that I don’t do. I learned that my identity is so foundationally in God and I am not so satisfied when I try to make it about something else.
This year I learned how to love myself where I am at. To not necessarily be content and stop searching for growth, but to better understand and embrace the process. That doesn’t mean I am always happy, but it means recognizing that today is not my favorite day but still choosing to do my best, make good choices, and embrace what is in front of me.
I think this boils down to being intentional and being vulnerable. Intentionally connecting to others and more importantly to myself. For the very first time (at least in I think years) I slowed down enough to hear myself. That voice started out as a tiny whisper, but as I’ve grown to listen to it, it has gotten louder. Pausing has let me recognize more of what is around me, the sights and sounds and people and quirks and the small things that make the life I live what it is.
Twenty was so good to me. It has made me into the person I am today. And thankfully, it seems that the years keep getting better, so bring it on 21.