I’m turning twenty. Turning older is inevitable. Every second, minute, hour, that ticks by is then added – with or without consent – to the span of your documented time as a living being on earth.
I’m turning twenty and for as long as I can remember there has been a culture surrounding the difference between being a teenager and being an adult. The first major indicator is losing the suffix of “teen” at the end of whatever number. It’s a safety net of sorts, within the assuming communities that uphold values like “kids will be kids”. Then comes the exchange of assumed responsibilities; from taking out the garbage to having your own garbage to take out. From part-time summer jobs to year round, full time employment. The expectations snowball fast and imperceptibly.
I’m turning twenty and it’s overwhelming. The oldest I’ve ever been, the youngest I’ll ever be again in each moment that passes. Suddenly the carefree ways – all the habits I’ve been developing my entire life are categorized as childish, juvenile, immature.
“You’re twenty?! I can’t believe how the time flies. I remember when you were this high!”…. But now you’re all grown up and are supposed to be doing things – have done things. What do you mean you don’t plan on going to university? A writer….. Well do you have a back up? So when are you moving out? Where’s your boyfriend that we want you to marry and pro-create with? So many things are said, most of it at or about me instead of to or for me.
There’s no transition time. No sympathy. No taking a step back to reminisce about their own summers spent experimenting and winters spent scraping together money to travel. About the hardships and expectations that aren’t met and all the tribulations and heart break on this journey into adulthood.
Regardless, I am here with some words of kindness and lessons to take with you on your venture into what are intended to be the best years of your god damn life!
1. The future is a void, but not to be avoided.
Find the line of letting go of expectations for what the future looks like – because let’s be honest we have no idea what’s going to even happen in the next 5 minutes – without letting it impact the basic wellbeing of you and your life. Sometimes you’re just going to have to blow a small fortune on a music festival, or impulsively colour your hair or stay in a foreign country another month and that is completely okay! Encouraged, even. As long as you can still figure out a way pay your bills (or ticket home…. somehow) at the end of the day, too.
2. Blood is thicker than water.
Quick history lesson; The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb. AKA the bonds you forge with people are stronger than the bonds you were born into . Friends are the family you chose for yourself, remember that when you look at the people you have in your life and uphold your standards.
3. Make honest decisions.
Or in other words, follow your instinct. The single best experiences of my life were ultimately unplanned and completely because I trusted my gut. Whenever I get deja vu I feel like I’m on the right life path – and it’s always in a situation I could have never dreamed would happen. Trust yourself, trust your life.
4. Find what you believe in.
For me it’s karma and horoscopes. I believe there is a balance of right and wrong in the world and that floating rocks in the sky change my mood and luck. Other people believe there are winged people in the clouds, or a dude who created us all and is now watching over. Whatever it may be, I guarantee you will find strength, understanding, and patience there.
5. Make the choices the person you want to be would make.
This almost always involves stepping out of your comfort zone. A lot. “I wonder if he knows how even though there is challenge in change, the sky is so beautiful.” (Caring For The Sky, 2014) Things change fast, and often. There are always choices to be made. Make ones that bring you closer to feeling yourself – not the version of you that you want to be for everyone else.
Your life will only be as good as you let it – so let it be fucking great.