On Turning Twenty-Two

Throughout my adolescence, I’ve come to find that age is sometimes and always the determining factor.
That, folks are quick to place judgement upon what they believe you can understand and/or take on, by a numerical length of years.
I have always been hesitant on the topic of age  my own age, in particular.
Even now, how old I am, typically remains on a need-to-know basis.
And unless we’re friends, you probably wouldn’t know whether I was twenty-two or twenty-five; until now.

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However, please keep in mind, omitting this article of information was never because I was “too old,” but rather, because I was “too young.”

From pre-k to my senior year of high school, I was a shoe-in for being the youngest of my classmates.
Nevermind having a birthday at the end of the year and a last name beginning with a
-W…
To me, being younger meant missing out; leaving me with this unwavering sense that I would forever be left waiting.
Waiting to be old enough for job opportunities.
Waiting to be old enough for access to places and events.
Waiting to be old enough to drink— which, by the way, was a super anti-climatic experience because I haven’t the taste buds nor esophagus to muster enjoyably ingesting alcohol.
Anyway…
Always. Waiting on. Something.

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And now, after all those years of patience and calendar counting, I am “old enough.”
Even though now these things are more a necessity than a privilege, to me.
I am old enough to:
Be financially independent and smile or frown at my credit score once a month.
Establish myself into becoming the adult I’d like to be.
Go wherever I want, whenever I want— within reason.
Drink… coffee.
Stay up as late as I’d like and face the consequences in the morning.
Respect or disregard time management.
Apply the rules of engagement and how I conduct myself in front of others.
Decide who and what I believe in — knowing that all thoughts and feelings and beliefs are subject to change given the right experience.
Adopt three dogs, and then wonder if that was a wise decision whilst picking up 3x’s the poop in the yard.

Old enough to make my own doctor and dentist appointments, and file taxes and pay bills and-really, embrace all of the seemingly unbearable stresses, as well as the indescribable happiest moments which come with growing up.

And some of these things are what I know now, and what I’ve been able to grasp in personal comprehension.
So basically, you turn 22 and get a little more creative.
Or, you turn 22 and find that life is only going to be that much more challenging, and you must get a bit savvier about it.

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 There will be days where you couldn’t be happier to be at your busiest.
That there’s one job. And then another. And then this exercise class on top of errands and meetings and on and on.

Then there will be days where you may find you have absolutely nothing to do.
And on some of those days you may be alone— left to face yourself.
Which can be altogether terrifying or exciting, as being alone can be character building.

Your life is going to be what you consciously and intentionally make it.
That’s what I came to this morning, thinking about who I am now, at 22.
I am the product of 20 and 21 and all the years before.
I am the rituals and practices I have made my own.

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Today, I am the young lady who is better than okay.
The young lady with a flirting, passing love-affair with happiness.
Sometimes, I can feel the thing — that joy, that happiness — just beneath my tongue, or in the corner of my eye. Sometimes it’s right there where my ear meets my neck and every once in a while, when I least expect it, it is everywhere all at once.
It is profound and all-encompassing— swaddling and lifting.

I am the young lady who is just now realizing some things must be fought for. Happiness, and courage, and people, too. And that pride isn’t too tremendously helpful.

I’m learning to fight for myself. Learning to fight for the chance to suss out who I love and what I love and what I’m meant to do. Learning to fight for the right words in this world. And the courage to say them, aloud. Not to write them, but to form my lips around them and feel them as they move up and out of me, physically. This is the world of light and speech. Right? Isn’t that what George Elliot said? “This is the world of light and speech.”
I’m just now coming into that— owning that.

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So, here I am.
Doing my best not to grow up too fast, or fixate on waiting for something or someone— for the day to be over or begin.
But rather, to live in the now and the moment and whatever the universe throws my way.
Learning to tolerate the discomfort of not always having an ever-loving-clue as to what comes next.
And you know what?
That’s okay.

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