Tomorrow, I turn 21.
Every year around my birthday, I begin to feel a panic. A panic that another year is gone, that I will never be that age again and that I am only getting older. Guilt and disappointment begin to eat away at me as I start thinking about how I didn’t appreciate every moment of being that age and that I didn’t make the most of it. Honestly, the morning shower I have on every birthday is emotionally draining because it is spent deeply immersed in this existential crisis.
But I don’t feel like that this year. Being 20 was one of the most exciting and fulfilling years of my life and I don’t think I could possibly have done any more with it.
At the start of this year, I was in my final semester of uni. Motivated to lift my GPA to the highest it has ever been because this was my last chance to do so, I worked harder than I ever have before and I succeeded. It was the most satisfying feeling at the end of semester, to see that GPA.
During that time – in April – I also became engaged. It was the happiest night of my life, but with it came a lot of stress. Not only was I focused on smashing uni and my part-time job, I now had everyone in my life trying to redirect my time into wedding planning. Very quickly I learned how to efficiently split my time and because of that, I had my wedding venue booked within a week of getting engaged.
Uni ended and I was about to leave for a four week holiday when disaster struck. I was informed that I would be made redundant at work. This was devastating for me. I had a secure plan to go overseas, return and graduate and then have a full time job to move straight into. Suddenly that was gone. This triggered my anxiety to the worst extent. I was negotiating an alternative position in the company but would not know if my job was secured until after my return from overseas. Not the ideal way to start an exciting holiday.
So then I was off on my first big overseas holiday, to England with my parents for four weeks. It was incredible. Throughout the holiday I had moments of anxiety over my job but traipsing through the grassy fields of Victorian estates and walking through buildings centuries old, it suddenly didn’t feel like the monolith problem it had felt at home. I was reminded of how small my problems are in the vast expanse of history. My priorities were shifted and all I wanted to do was enjoy the feeling of being part of something larger than my own, finite life. Dramatic I know, but it didn’t feel like it at the time.
When I returned home, I graduated and then I had a meeting with my employer and confirmed my new full time position. Everything felt like it was in order, once again. I started my new full time job which was the role I had actually wanted when I first joined the company; the redundancy was actually a blessing because it pushed me to exactly where I wanted to be the whole time.
As soon as I returned from overseas, we moved into planning the engagement party. After this, I was full swing into the wedding prep: organising people, securing suppliers and dealing with the hiccups along the way.
October rolled around and this new story began. The blog and my transition into a more minimalist, ethical and thoughtful lifestyle. I committed myself to this blog and it has lasted longer than any blog I have ever tried before. My perspective on personal projects changed and I started focusing on this one with more determination and discipline than I have ever applied to any project of my own. This is one of the most satisfying things to have come from this year, and it came entirely out of the blue.
Finally, at the end of October, my fiance and I started renting our own house. That process was far from easy and we made a lot of mistakes, some of which we are still trying to resolve. The process of moving out for the first time (although, he’s the only one who actually moved out because I am waiting until next year), and starting our own home from scratch has been exciting and challenging. We have weird responsibilities that you don’t have to think about when living with parents, like paying contents insurance and heckling with real estate agents. It really pushes you into adulthood.
And now, here I am. Writing a blog on my lounge, with both my feet strapped up as they recover from foot surgery. Another challenging but fulfilling experience that has built my patience, tried my perseverance and caused a bit of emotional stress along the way.
This year has passed by so quickly and yet with everything that has happened, January feels like a lifetime ago and I am a completely different person to the one I was at the start of this year. I can honestly say that I made the most of 2018 and being 20 and because of this, I know that I won’t be having a panic in the shower on the morning of my 21st birthday. Thank the lord for that.
I wonder if 21 can beat 20. I hear it’s a fun age so I’m sure it’s up for the task.