I am 20 going on 21
^ Those words were scary to type.
Turning 21 is something that I’ve looked forward to for a really long time. It’s like I’m a real adult now– I can finally drink (legally).
Is that it? Is that all I can do? I think that’s pretty much it. I can’t rent a car. But I don’t need to rent a car, so I don’t really have a problem with that.
Important things that are important that happened this year: I became more independent. I discovered the value and importance of female friendships. I put myself in more leadership roles at school. I immersed myself in Writopia. I networked. I got a passport. I got a tonsillectomy. I lost friends and I gained friends. I became closer with some and farther away from others. I taught and got paid for it. My grandma died. I cut a foot and a half of my hair off.
Earlier today I was thinking about where I was in my life this time last year. I had a bunch of great friends (and I still do, but our relationships have evolved and are very different, and I’m close with people I never thought I would be close with but glad I am). I was into this boy, and that didn’t work out. (lol) (anyway) I was sad about people I’d lost, in life and in friendships. I was writing a lot more. I was adjusting to change. I was still happier at home. I learned to value my own happiness over others, and learned to take care of myself a little better. I was a lot more secure in myself than I am at this point in my life. I loved my family and friends just as much as I do now, which is an overwhelming amount sometimes, but I have good intent so I think it’s okay.
Last year, I set goals for myself for each semester. I was determined not to be unhappy at school like I was freshman year. I was determined not to be alone. So my goal for Fall 2014 was “Amanda makes friends” (I weirdly referred to myself in the third person when I did this. I’m not crazy though, I swear). And I did! It worked out pretty well. I came out of that semester with a lot of really great friends here in Ithaca, and I am genuinely proud of myself for that.
Spring 2015 was a little more complicated. Steering myself in the direction of being happier at school, I made it my mission to be happy. The goal for Spring 2015 (official title) was “Amanda is happy/Amanda is a better version of herself.”
Sounds great, right?
Yes! It is a very good goal to have. You want to be happy. You want to be a better version of yourself. I want to be happy, I want to care and do all of the things I want to do, and I want to learn new things and meet new people and I want to WANT to learn new things and meet new people.
But saying that you’re gonna do it and feel that way is a lot different than actually doing it and actually feeling that way. And it’s not something that can be accomplished in a semester.
I’m not really sure what I was thinking in setting that goal. I tried to go to CAPS, and obviously that didn’t work out. My counselor was so sweet and thoughtful and understanding, but because of understaffing and time constraints he could only see me every 2 1/2 weeks, which just wasn’t enough. I won’t go into specifics because 1) it’s not anyone’s business 2) I don’t owe anyone an explanation about anything and 3) I can choose to share what I want about myself, which I will.
I will say that what this past year has taught me is patience in terms of self-growth. You can’t say “I’M GOING TO BE BETTER” and then expect yourself to be all better in 10 seconds. It takes time and it takes effort and it takes understanding and it takes love from yourself and from other people. And even then you’re not going to be better.
I’m here a year later and I’m still working on myself and on being happy. I’m still trying to figure myself out. It’s frustrating at times. But I think that I am worth figuring out, and that it’s worth trying.
As an (almost) 21 year old, I have a lot of things to do and a lot of people that I care about and a lot of things that I’m going to learn and people I’m going to meet and books that I’m going to read and movies that I’m going to watch and classes I’m going to take and places I’m going to go, and I am excited for all of it. But I am mostly excited for watching myself grow as a person as I do all of that great stuff. I am excited to grow into myself and be the best version of myself I can be.
Here’s to another year. Happy 21st birthday to me!
If you want to read my past birthday posts, click here.