What does it mean to turn 20 in 2016?
Well, for any normal millennial, it’s just another year, another cake, another birthday wish-clad Facebook feed and another punny Instagram post. But for a self-proclaimed overthinker like myself, I’m still trying to figure it out.
I know most people my age don’t really consider a person’s 20th birthday to be a milestone (in the United States, at least). However, the big “2-0” is not something to be glossed-over.
After all, this marks the beginning of arguably the most formative decade of my life. As severe as it sounds, what I do now and in the next few years will potentially lay the foundation for, well, everything else. It’s a frightening but exciting realization.
I am living and traveling in a world that has changed so much since 1996. I know, I know – that sounds really obvious. (Of course the world has changed a lot in 20 years. That’s how it works.) But these past two decades represent my snapshot, my view of the world. And for some reason, I think that’s fascinating. Someday, I will get to share my memories and stories from the early 2000s (and beyond) with people who will be shocked to hear of someone born before 2000.
There are things I learned, experiences I had, places I went, and people I met in my first 20 years that have shaped who I am today.
The friendships and experiences from my first 20 years will always mean so much to me. Isn’t it funny how some of the most seemingly ephemeral relationships turn out to be the most impactful ones?
Some of my favorite memories include my middle school band BFFs, swim team buddies, and summer camp counselors. I feel lucky to have had so many inspiring teachers, coaches and friends over the years, as these are the people who saw my potential, encouraged me to follow my dreams and have made me into the person I am today.
Whether we realize it or not, all the people we have had or currently have in our lives – for a fleeting moment or forever – have an impact on who we were, who we are, and who we will be.
What do I envision for my 20s?
1. I hope I never stop writing.
2. I will be a college graduate!
3. I hope to travel a lot, but I also hope to find a place I can call home.
4. I hope I have a career I love.
5. I hope I find love–or at least a dog. Even better: both.
6. I hope to avoid a quarter-life crisis.
7. Above all, I hope to make the most of every opportunity that comes my way – and to be happy.
I know, I know.
Maybe this list seems a little too good to be true – but I understand these things will take time to accomplish, and I’m OK with that. I’m not expecting to bump into Mr. Right and land my dream job in the same hour (but a girl can dream).
It seems like my generation glorifies the idea of “having it together” and idolizes anyone who seemingly “has it all.” First of all, what does this even mean? If “having it all” means having perfect grades, an overbooked social life, the most impressive resume known to mankind, a successful love life, and a crystal-clear idea of what one wants to do with his or her life, I think it’s safe to say nobody really has it all. And definitely not all at once.
What does turning 20 mean to me?
Turning 20 is about who I want to surround myself with, who I am now, what I want to experience and who I want to be in the future.
It’s a lot to think about. I still don’t know all the answers, and I don’t know if I ever will – but the best is yet to come, and I’m so ready.