Writing this, I am overcome by a million emotions and I wish I could say it’s because of something as simple as PMS. I’m sitting downstairs on the couch of the living room I have lived in the last 20-years and my parents just told me goodnight. When they said happy birthday for the final time, I started to cry and they responded with confusion. “There’s so much to come,” my dad reasons with me. “Do you think everything changes just because you aren’t 19 anymore, but 20?” If I was thinking logically, the answer would be no. I’m thinking with my heart, I want to scream, “YES!”
Normally, a birthday marks just another year that passes by in what feels like my never ending youth. I can think back to 10-years ago on my 10th birthday, which was also my ‘golden.’ Celebrated at The Waterpark of America, I invited all of my friends with GOLDEN tickets. Clever, right? Vividly, I can remember my childhood friend, Gracie, left bottomless after a surf board wipeout. What I can’t vividly remember is the time that passed between then and now, and how it possibly could’ve gone by so fast.
Every birthday I’ve had until now is one that I wished for sooner. Each year brought me closer to something I thought I didn’t have the luxury of having. They brought an excitement, knowing they were just one step closer to the destination I’d always planned on arriving to. I guess what I’m saying is, the idea of adulthood once seemed so far away, but now it’s not far at all. Actually, it feels as if it just knocked on my door. Or maybe it pounded?
My entire life up until now was spent waiting for a day like today where I’d be bigger and better than ever before. I might be bigger, but am I better? The birthday I once wished for now happens to be the birthday that I wish I could postpone. I wish it could be a year from now, or maybe two. Who knows? I sure as hell don’t.
The expectation that my life would be running smoothly by 20-years-old was a short-lived dream. In fact, I woke up from it this morning. I’ve wanted to fall back asleep ever since.
The truth is, it’s easier to still feel like a kid at 19 than it is to at 20. Things that used to not matter, do. Things that once mattered, don’t. It was easier to dream of the opportunities I’d once have, not actually face them.
Today, I’m 20. I’m not a kid and officially am no longer a teen. Today, I’m 20 and…. I DON’T KNOW WHAT I AM. It doesn’t feel right calling myself an adult, mostly because I’m terrified of becoming one. So what am I? A girl having a pre-adulthood crisis? A girl with no idea as to who the hell she is because all she ever thought about was who she would be?
Today, I’m the same 8-year-old girl crying outside the bus to church camp hiding inside of a 20-year-old woman’s body. I feel as terrified as I did on that day, and all I want is to do is cling to the safety of the things I already know.
Today, I am at the age I once dreamed of, but nothing is as it once seemed. I made it, but parts of me burn to rewind time and put the puzzle pieces back together. I made it, but the reality is that my pieces are scattered across the floor, nicked and wary from 20-years of hopeless expectation and experience. I long for the days that being where I am today was a wish, not a reality.
Today, a little part of me broke into pieces realizing that not all dreams come true, especially by the age of 20. Today, a part of me realized that the period of naive time where expectations exist is over. Today, reality was unmasked and my 20-year-old eyes were forced to see it.