Today I turn 22. Twenty full years plus two more. That’s a long time to be breathing on this planet, and somehow such a short time. At 22, I have learnt many life lessons, some of which I like to rehash and relearn. Who doesn’t like to make the same mistake a few times over?
I had my life planned out, you see. And then I guess I didn’t really have any solid plans at all. Really just a vision of where I would like to be. I am where I thought I should be and I should be further than I am. It’s all so conflicting. When to grow up, when to be an adult, when to let your soul sing, when to take a day off and be childlike. So many rules and boundaries set for us, long before we are born. So many limits placed on us by things we cannot change: our gender, skin colour, appearance, circumstance, and yet we somehow sometimes manage to break through.
I have found myself thinking with pride at how far I have come though. I might not have it all sorted, and I might still wake up at 03:42 AM with heart palpitations, but I am okay. I think I am anyway, I guess the best possible way to judge your progress is whether or not you are still working at it. In The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Chbosky writes: “She wasn’t bitter. She was sad, though. But it was a hopeful kind of sad. The kind of sad that just takes time. ” Maybe this will all just take time. Maybe that’s what life is, a series of moments and memories over time that make us both bitter sad and hopeful not all at once but sometimes all at once.
Today I turn 22. Last year I cried and cried on my birthday, I felt so lost and un-accomplished. This year, I feel less lost, a little bruised but proud. I am strong. I might not know exactly what my plans are but I am starting to understand that it is irrelevant. As long as I know what I want and I work at it, the plans will plan themselves and my heart will still be okay.
Happy birthday to me, my gift to myself this year is some self-love and self-belief. Here, have some wine.