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Wellness

Growing Up: Reflections from My 21st Birthday

When I was younger, I used to scoff at the older woman around me who scrunched at their wrinkles and pinched their crow’s feet. They were disgusted by their inevitable aging and would purchase various anti-aging retinol creams and medications to halt the process. Somehow, these women would find their way into my mirrors and convert my body into theirs through the looking glass. The women would wear tight skirts and small tops in an attempt to communicate to others that they still look 21. 

Repulsed by humans’ idealizations of remaining immortal forever, I spent every day excited to grow older and wiser. The fissures of my brain yearned for a time when I wouldn’t be young and confused any longer. Although I would attempt to “’live every day like it’s my last,” a small part of me was always scared—and still is. 

Being a young teenager/college student is extremely difficult. We have mountains of pressure laid on our backs, and we carry the load day in and day out. Additionally, an array of students take a colossal amount of loans. These loans grow to be so daunting that they can even cause students to drop out of school altogether.


Woman standing on a balcony across from a "hotel'
Photo by Thought Catalog from Unsplash

I thirsted to be free, independent, and unleashed from the uncertainty of college.

When I turned 21, I realized that my desires were not so different from those of the women I had once disdained. We all wanted to be free from the shackles that tied us down. Unhappy marriages, mind-numbing jobs, or even dead-end careers could have been holding these women down. They could have been dealing with restraints such as unfulfilled dreams or extinguished passions. They yearned for the day that they had opportunities, freedom, choices. 

It became evident to me that to eradicate both scenarios—the confusion of a young girl ceasing to live in the moment or an older version of myself chasing my youth—I needed to ask myself what I wanted to do with my current freedom. I needed to be the one who would destroy the shackles.

So on my 21st birthday, I decided to give my current (present) moment meaning. At this moment, today, I am following my multitudinous passions. I refuse to limit myself nor wait for the day that I will one day be “free.” I am free TODAY. I can follow my dreams TODAY. I refuse to wait any longer. I am 21, and I am free. I am now determined to learn the guitar, master my dancing, and significantly practice my voice. 

Don’t wait for “one day.” Do it today.

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Hi, I'm Serena! I am an English major, and love theatre very much as well! I am writing for this magazine as a personal therapeutic outlet, but also to help others! Feel free to message me if my writing touches you or helps you in any way!
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