On Being 20

It feels more finite than other birthdays. I feel more like a woman than  girl, more adult than child. I was nearly shocked upon receiving gifts, because I’m a big girl now. Do I have time for birthdays anymore?

I am afraid because time runs through my fingers like sand. It’s easy to reflect on a birthday like another year slipped away without concrete achievements, goals fulfilled, or dreams come true. Yet that’s not true. We achieve more than we give ourselves credit for.

So, to abandon my cultural unwillingness to brag about what I’ve done with my life, I’m going to compile a list of the things I’m proud of this year. Here’s to you, being 19.

  1. Starting a band.
  2. Performing at Glasgow University Union for the annual Christmas Glasgow Lindy Hop party.
  3. Busking with them on cold nights, warming hearts.
  4. Organizing a spectacular birthday party which I will never forget.
  5. Getting an interview at Oxford.
  6. Deliberately sassing off my interviewer. (Um, so what did that question actually have to do with economics?)
  7. Getting rejected from Oxford. Phew.
  8. Buying a plane ticket to China.
  9. Buying a plane ticket to San Francisco.
  10. Going to China.
  11. Going to San Francisco.
  12. Not leaving San Francisco. Whoops.
  13. Quitting a job because of a manipulative boss. Not having grocery money as a result.
  14. Being very very very poor, and very very very scared. Coping with it.
  15. Getting another job, in a bright, welcoming cafe. This has become home.
  16. Deciding to stay in an unknown place for an indefinite period of time. Being scared.
  17. Becoming homeless. That was fun.
  18. Finding a home. That was funner.
  19. Falling platonically in love with the best flatmate imaginable.
  20. Getting. In. To. Berkeley.
  21. Dealing with heartbreak when I realized we couldn’t afford for me to go.
  22. Dealing with the disappointment of community college instead.
  23. The inspiration of community college instead.
  24. Calculus. Fuck you, and thank you.
  25. Being in the finals of a blues dancing competition.
  26. Being described as a “good dancer” by several consecutive partners.
  27. Rejecting creepy polyamorous white boy sexual advances.
  28. Accepting creepy polyamorous white boy sexual advances. Regretting it. Moving on.
  29. Being decidedly single. Reveling in the joy of leaving dirty pants on the floor.
  30. Hosting my baby brother, who shockingly isn’t a baby anymore.
  31. Missing home insatiably.
  32. Discovering hip hop. Oh my god.
  33. Connecting and appreciating my blackness.
  34. Dancing down the street. Not giving a fuck.
  35. Wearing what I want. Not giving a fuck.
  36. Learning to seriously not give a fuck.
  37. Btw, I don’t give a fuck.
  38. No, I really don’t, thanks.

Thanks, being 19. It was fun.

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