19 turning 20 is the kind of age where you start crying when a touching song comes on the radio as you drive. That was me just a day ago. I tried and tried to control my tear ducts but the only command they listened to were my feelings, not reason.
19 turning 20 is the kind of age where there’s little you can do except to feel. Emotions come easier than anything and your mind is in constant chaos. But they’re no longer the kind of angsty teenage mood swings you get in your early adolescence. While you still struggle with your personal issues with confidence and acceptance from your peers, there are the scarier issues like “Why am I doing what I’m doing?”, “Why should I be studying this if I can’t get a job after I graduate?”, “Should I go to grad school instead of getting some unpaid work experience?” and the scariest of all, “How much time do I have left to change my mind?”
19 turning 20 is the kind of age where you struggle to become a better person. The keyword is struggle. It’s not easy to change, especially not when it’s changing for the better. You know which things are considered racist and sexist, what kind of mindset constitutes as rape culture and that you shouldn’t stereotype people. But it’s so hard. I recognize that there is a need to abandon what has instilled in me to embrace a new mindset that is accepting and considerate towards all people, but it continues to be a conscious effort.
19 turning 20 is the kind of age where you fight for the balance between work and play. On one hand you are expected to be working towards your future diligently, unwavering, but on the other hand you are also expected to have the time of your life and maybe make some stupid mistakes along the way, all a part of the journey of life. Am I supposed to do both? How? How is it humanly possible for me to balance work and play AND getting enough sleep?
But I’m no longer 19 turning 20. I spent the last day of my teen year with my wonderful boyfriend and the last hour driving myself home with the windows rolled down, music blasting. It was such a peaceful transition into my twenties that I barely even noticed the time passing. My 19th year was all but peaceful, but I’ve grown so much as a person that it’s hard to disregard it as “that one year where I fucked up a lot”. My twenties will not be any less confusing, chaotic, or heartbreaking, but I will make it fabulous. That will be the difference.
The me in my twenties will know to stop wishing and hoping, and instead take matters into my own hands and chase what is rightfully mine: happiness and success. The me in my twenties will be courageous, kind, and loving. And most importantly of all, the me in my twenties will finally be at peace with myself.