Monday, 9 July 2018

On Turning 20

 It's my birthday today, and with 20 years on this planet and I really feel like I've learned something, stupid though it may sound. I greeted my previous / two birthdays with a certain degree of trepidation. Turning 18 felt so foreign, like I was too inexperienced to possibly be that age. It called me and repelled me in equal measure. I cried on my 18th and 19th birthdays. Where was the joy of childhood birthdays gone? Where was the fun? The number of people celebrating with me seemed to dwindle, with old age, with sickness, with travel, with friends on summer holidays. Nothing felt quite right to me, and in my final couple of months as a 19 year old, I kept forgetting my age, though I'm not sure what age I really thought I was. Even with some very special people who can no longer celebrate with me, I think I feel okay about my birthday again. At the very least, I am willing to try.

Of course it's a bit scary to think that I am entering the third decade of my life. It's both a relief and a shock to think that I am technically no longer a teenager. Nevertheless, these past few months have taught me that age and stage don't mean forgetting who you once were. Over the past couple of years I have accidentally let go of a lot of the things which brought me joy, like music I used to like, hobbies I used to have, even reading, and I am so happy to have realized this. In a weird way I feel like I'm getting myself back. And it's just nice to be able to mark parts of my life off, 20 as a cornerstone of a new phase of happiness (let's hope).

Like, this past year has been HARD. Getting back to what I said at the beginning, I've learned so damn much from it, though! I feel that I can look back and be proud of myself for doing my best with it, for achieving things (little victories and bigger ones) even in the face of what was often a really testing few months. I made some lovely friends in college, I got a new oh-so lovable family member, I tried my best in my first year of university. It was also a year of stress and deep loss, but I don't hate it for that. I guess I'm just not sorry to move on when there's the prospect of a decent year ahead.

Being 20, I hope to be happy. I know it's a bit cheesy, but I really am hoping to feel more comfortable with myself. I've been making little moves already towards an updated me, new glasses, an overdue haircut out of the way, more time with friends. It's been a really nice summer thus far, and I hope to bring the gentle care of it through into the year ahead. I greet it with open arms. Of course nothing can truly be anticipated. I have about 2 months left of summer (summers here are ridiculously long) and beyond that I have my second year of university. Who knows what challenges and joys will come of all of that?

Do you have any advice for a 20 year old?

Anna x

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