They say your early twenties are part of the best years of your life. You see magazine articles, blog posts and even books on the topic. For the most part, I think we could all say we agree with some of their statements, but at the end of the day, getting older it’s so much more than just that.
When I was five, I remember dreaming about turning 10, but having those two digits seemed so far away it was almost impossible for me to imagine it. Now, I just turned 21, and it seems to me like it was only yesterday that I dreamt about being a 10 year old.
It’s crazy how fast things can change. If I asked you – what were you doing five years ago? What would you answer be? There’s a lot that can happen in a year, let alone five. Three years ago I was graduating, getting ready to move abroad. Now, I’m settled in what I can somehow call home. Every year comes with a new set of experiences, and that to me is what makes it special. So when my birthday comes, and I’m asked all of these questions about how it feels to be a year older, I never feel like I’m able to answer. That new symbol that has been added to my age is only one of the changes that the new year has brought.
You see, my year goes from September ‘till May, which is the length of a full university year in France. It has a rather bittersweet start, with the end of the summer holidays, and ends in what’s usually a great note: the beginning of summer. And in between all of that, great, and not so great things occur. So if the question I got asked were to be – what has this new year brought? Then yes, I could probably give many answers.
I’d talk about the new relationships I’ve built, and how I’ve been lucky enough to meet and end up living with amazing people that have helped turn my experience abroad into something extraordinary. I’d list all the great things my friends are doing, and how they inspire me to chase amazing opportunities too. I’d explain how I realise that 21 it’s actually not such a big deal, and how the reasons I feel like more of an adult are my experiences so far and trying to figure out what the next step in this adventure is going to be. But yet also, how at 21 I still feel like a lost child sometimes.
I reminisce a lot. I think it started happening after I turned 18. Looking back at my high school years and experiences now seems extremely far away, and yet, I know I have a lot more to come. It’s funny though, isn’t it? How things gain value over time. I never thought I would miss high school, yet somehow there are times where I wish I could go back. Those moments, that at the time seemed stupid or irrelevant, have now become great anecdotes. Memories that put a big smile on my face and make for good 2am conversations with friends. However, there comes a point where getting older it’s not just about you anymore, and I think we fail to see that sometimes. Sure, every decision you make forges your future, but at some point they also start involving other people, and this is, I think, what scares me the most right now.