As I approached the big 2-0 I’ve been feeling such a strange mix of emotions. One half of me feels like this is rather impossible. Didn’t I just get my braces off? Wasn’t my bang phase just last week?! It’s really kind of insane how old 20 seems. I’ve been dealing with some of my usual, “Pre-Birthday Anxiety,” which has crept up on me since the year I turned 15. Let me explain what exactly my PBA is. Basically I’ve always been a perfectionist. I had a set plan for my life and a schedule to stick to. I set really lofty and sort of insane goals for myself when I was a little girl. I was supposed to be driving, get a boyfriend, and wearing makeup daily when I was sixteen. I still don’t have my licence, and have only taken to wearing makeup the past couple of years.
Then I was supposed to get married by eighteen… What on earth was I thinking?! I met my boyfriend right after turning 19. He is so amazing and I’m so lucky to have found such a sweet boy, but we aren’t in a hurry to get hitched. We understand that our education is so important, and we are enjoying dating each other. Speaking of education, so many of what I thought were shortcomings have to do with education. I was supposed to be out of the house and living in a cool apartment somewhere by now. I went to a big state university when I was 17, and I hated it. I became very sad and unmotivated, and at one point even music seemed pointless. I wasn’t attending church and felt very alone. I came home and have been attending my local college. While this felt like a failure in my eyes, it has been so good for me! I have a job at a beautiful church, I am president of an amazing choir, and I have made so many fantastic friends. I may not have achieved my crazy goals in the time period I used to think was appropriate, but I am SO proud of who I am. I am a strong woman who survived and grew from her sadness. I am a published author of poetry and prose. I am an award-winning young soprano. I am a loving and compassionate friend.
So why did I write this? I wrote this for everyone who has read “20 things you should do before…” or “15 must dos by..” article. Don’t give yourself absolutes. Create attainable goals that mean something. Becoming me has been a long journey. There were moments I thought that I couldn’t continue. That life was too hard. But those moments of sadness and self-doubt, are dwarfed by the number of times I have been overwhelmed by how God has blessed me. Sunsets, Disney World fireworks, running barefoot in the snow. Going on a mission trip was totally not in my original plan, but it was a life altering experience, and better than what my plan was.Thank you to my family for passing on your values and guiding me down the right path. Thank you to my friends for opening up my eyes to new points of view. Thank you to those who have been less than kind for building up my resilience. Basically, thank you to anyone who has had any involvement in my life! Although the fact that I hit the two decade mark today is still daunting, I am all in all very proud of who I am, and who I am in the process of becoming! -PS