A Third Decade

Yesterday marked the beginning of my 21st year. It came and went swiftly and without pomp, and I can’t help but think that I really am growing up.

When you’re little, birthdays (and other gift-getting days, let’s be honest) are occasions you dream about, count down to and obsess over. You can’t sleep the night before and you wake up at 6 am the next morning. They are the end all and be all.

And then one year, that all stops.

Tuesday night I fell asleep at 11:30 pm and slept in the next day. I didn’t have any butterflies of excitement or feel the need to, like, jump out of bed and do a little dance (though I don’t think I’ve ever had that urge). I wanted to go out to breakfast and spend the day with my family, which I did. It was simple and not totally exciting, but it was what I wanted. That part of me which is wholly self-absorbed was screaming to be doted on and praised, but that’s obnoxious and I don’t want to be that kind of person, so I took a more relaxed route and spent the day with people who actually cared that it was my birthday.

I don’t know much about growing up or being an “adult”, but I like to think that one day I will. And I think that part of getting older means being happy with everyday celebrations. Or finding the unique joy that hides behind an ordinary occasion. Being content with the little things.

I had an excellent birthday, which my family made much more than an “ordinary occasion”, but the whole turning 20 thing got me thinking. I’m not a teenager anymore, so what does that mean for me? The basic idea is that growing up is a part of life that kind of sucks, if you let it. But it doesn’t have to.

On my first day of high school, my mom said that the next four years would be my most memorable. Then, on my first day of college, she said I was about to start the best four years of my life. When I turned 20, she said that your twenties are the years when “it” all happens.

Well, high school was alright and so far college has been cool, too. Especially this past year, which has easily been my best. 5 months abroad, 9 countries under my belt, 900 some followers on my blog, and a stack of ARCs in my bedroom that need to be reviewed. These are things I never thought would happen.

But I have to believe that it just gets better. And I do think that my twenties will be my golden age. Keep me in your back pocket. I have some big plans.

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