20 is the gray area between teenage years and adulthood. Although at 18 you are legally an “adult,” nobody takes you seriously until your age doesn’t end in the word “teen”. 20 was the age when people let things slide because you were just getting your feet wet in the grown-up pool.
21 is adulthood. 21 is a different ballgame, like a linebacker tackling a baseball pitcher on a tennis court, different ballgame. This ballgame has landed on my feet today, and instead of just getting my feet wet this year, I am cannon-balling into this grown-up pool.
This time, instead of spending my birthday on Ithaca’s campus, I am spending it across the world, in a different time zone, on a different continent, surrounded by a different group of faces. While I do miss being at home in America celebrating my birthday with my college friends, this journey has showed me that memories can be made anywhere with anyone who wants to be remembered.
21 is knowing that you can flash your I.D. and finally be viewed as “old enough.” 21 is when you can go out and buy wine on a Thursday night for Shonda Rhimes’ #TGIT on ABC. 21 is remembering that while you are older, you will still be younger in the eyes of your family. 21 is when your older cousin no longer has to sneak you cups of wine at Thanksgiving dinner. 21 is watching that baseball pitcher get tackled by that linebacker on a tennis court.
I have no idea what this new year of me will bring. It is unpredictable.
Each year I write an article on what this year’s new age means to me, my predictions for the future, and my overall contemplation of life. In my last birthday article I said, “I have been alive for two decades and I still don’t really know anything about anything, but hopefully, this is my year to figure it out.” To be honest, there are some days where I still feel like I know nothing at all, and that was proven when I moved here to Australia. But most of the things I did learn were things about myself. Being in another part of the world and transitioning to a new part of my life has forced me to reflect on how I have developed. I have gained more self-confidence, independence and responsibility. I have learned to start putting myself first, to speak up and confront unpleasant situations, to put my phone down and stop to look at how blue the sky is and smell the newly potted flowers in Victoria Park (even though I am highly allergic to pollen).
21 is a ballgame I think I am ready for…as long as I still get to be somewhat of a kid.