21 Thoughts on Turning 21

I turned 21 recently (medium whoop), and as predicted, nothing has changed. Legally, yes, things have changed, but mentally, I still feel like I’m in middle school. I can drink now, but I feel so weird ordering a drink, since I don’t look a day over fifteen. I went to a concert and had to prove that I was over the age of fourteen to enter, so I am not exaggerating. I still wear children’s clothing from my basement and have quite a youthful vibe, but I am told that I will look awesome when everyone else is 50. 

Overall, I am feeling neutral at 21. I went into the night before my birthday with a list of things I was going to change about myself and my approach to life, since 21 is supposed to be a milestone birthday. Then, I woke up the next morning and was confused about how old I was (no alcohol involved, just me). 

Perhaps you are wondering what I wrote the night I turned 21. Well, here are the thoughts, unedited, but with my commentary underneath them, since I am so much older now (it’s been a month).

1. Your youthful energy is not a negative.

I can be very mature, but my outward energy is childish, energetic, happy and dramatic. This has pushed people away since they think I am immature and am unable to handle myself. I can do just fine on my own—I just like to do handstands everywhere despite not doing gymnastics, and I like to run places instead of walking, like a toddler.

2. It is never too late for new friends.

I actually followed my own advice here! I started forming friendships with people from my classes and it has been overwhelmingly positive. You don’t have to stick with the same people from freshman year. 

3. Six is a bomb ass musical.

It is no secret that I am obsessed with Six. Henry VIII’s wives forming a band and retelling their stories, all without Henry appearing at all? Sign me up! 

I did sign myself up, and I am seeing it on Broadway in March. Apparently dreams do come true.

4. Your new suitemates are as amazing as they seem.

As someone who has suffered through a series of unfortunate living arrangements, this year has been a breath of fresh air. I was worried it was too good to be true, but it’s the end of the semester, and we are getting dinner the night I am writing this. They love me for who I am and for my personality (which can be a bit much at times), and I am so grateful for them. 

5. Retirement from competitive ice skating does not make you a senior citizen. You might actually become the best skater you have ever been.

I took the year off AGAIN to focus on my health, and guess what? I’m doing better than ever before! My skating has improved so much and I enjoy going to the rink more than I ever had in the past. 

6. When you go away to school, it is not okay to lose sight of who you left at home. 

I spent this year trying to put relationships from home back together, ones I had neglected because I was “in Boston and in college now.” It was hard to put them back together and own up to my mistakes, but invaluable in the end. 

7. People get pretty freaked out when you lose a lot of weight, but it was all worth it. You never thought you could do it, but you did!

I don’t like to talk about it, but yes, I lost 50 pounds. What do I like to talk about? How people treat me so much better now that I am “thinner.” What’s up with that? Telling me that I “look so much better now” is incredibly insulting, even when it comes from someone who means well. 

8. Even though you lost a ton of weight, your confidence will be the lowest it has ever been. It will take some big life changes to bring it back.

I thought the weight loss would solve all my confidence issues. Turns out, life does not work like that. I became increasingly depressed, until I recognized that my depression and weight were not as connected as I thought they were. Losing weight is not going to “fix” my depression, but it is something positive along the way and pointed out other things in my life bringing me down. 

9. No one will crucify you if you play sweater weather and cuff your jeans. 

If you know, you know. Also, I need to spend less time on tik tok. 

10.  Even though you are not present for your students as much as you want to be, they still adore you, skate beautifully and have improved so much.

I am an ice skating coach in New Hampshire and I go to school in Boston, which means that I go home frequently on weekends to coach my students. Even so, I cannot be with them as much as some other coaches I know, which makes me feel guilty. But, when I do get to be with them, and they catch my eye and smile, when they land that jump to the right part of the music, I know I am on the right path. 

11. Genre fiction is acceptable fiction.

This goes out to all the lit professors and fiction professors who don’t like or accept genre fiction: genre fiction is intelligent, acceptable and marketable. I was told by so many people that I was not allowed to write my alien sci-fi, that I could only write realistic fiction, which is not my strong suit. While I am grateful to be pushed out of my comfort zone and try different types of writing, the message that only realistic fiction is acceptable is ridiculous. 

Now, I write my alien sci-fi and I’m proud of it. I tried realistic fiction, and it was simply not great nor enjoyable to write or for others to read (they could feel my anger). There is an audience for everything. 

12. People actually like and appreciate your work.

When I was forcing myself to write realistic fiction, I thought I was a horrible writer. I was even asked by someone: “How did you even get into this school?” Freshman year was rough, everyone was much better at writing than me and I was here writing a type of writing that I was not comfortable with. Some people pretended to like my writing, but most didn’t and were not afraid to tell me that (Pro tip: just because it’s your first workshop, doesn’t mean you have to be a jerk about everyone's story.) 

I left freshman year as a broken writer, believing that I was on the wrong path and this all was a huge mistake. But then, I got back into sci-fi and realized that I had just been trying to write things that I was not familiar with. If I was allowed to write sci-fi, it would have been a different story. Now, people really like my writing and I can tell they aren’t lying to me. The best part is, I like my writing and I don’t care if others like it or not, or if it is as marketable as it could be, because it is me. 

13. You will still worship at Halsey’s throne.

It has been five years of Halsey being my favorite artist and I am proud to stay that she is still at the top of my charts. Here’s to at least five more years!

14. Boston is a gorgeous place.

It took me a million years, but I finally appreciate the beauty of Boston. I love to walk in the Boston Common and Public Garden every day, and head into the North End and get a cannoli (at Mike’s). I’m a bit mad at 2017 me who said she hated Boston.  

15. Your rabbit is not spoiled, he is a diva by nature.

Everyone says Holland is spoiled, but if you lived with that sweet face, you’d let him eat the sofa too. 

16. Your love for Kristen Stewart has only grown stronger.

Did anyone think I would grow out of my K-Stew obsession? HA! What a thought! She is still my idol and her pictures take up the majority of the storage on my phone. If you’re still sleeping on her, wake up. 

17. After a million years, you will pass senior moves. You didn’t pass it late, you passed just on time.

For most of you who don’t know, Senior moves in the field is a figure skating test, the last and highest one. I had failed it five times, and had given up many more times than that. I finally passed it November 8th after working on it for seven years. This seems like too long of a time, but trust me, it felt much longer to me every time I failed. So many times, I wanted to just move on and never test it again, but I decided to try one more time. This one more time, I passed! Not late, just at my own pace, since a pass is a pass at the end of the day. 

18. If you stretch everyday, you will actually get more flexible.

This should be common sense, but I used to complain about not being flexible. However, I never stretched. I can now do my splits on both sides, and an oversplit on my left side, all from stretching every day for a year. Consistency is key and flexibility can be trained. 

19. You can write a whole new book series without betraying your old one.

I did not write novels for years because I was so dedicated to my one book series I was writing, but I wasn’t writing it because I was unsure of how to continue it, so I wrote nothing. I learned that I can put down my original series, work on something else and always come back to it. 

20. It’s alright to still write in composition notebooks with mechanical pencils, even though you have been doing the same thing for 10 years. 

As I have said before, in some ways, I never left middle school. I discovered composition notebooks when I was around eleven and never looked back. I do all my writing in them and then type it up nightly. It’s tedious, but I cannot write as well on a computer as I can in a notebook. I also write using mechanical pencils, no matter how ridiculous I may look at a meeting. 

21. It is okay to not know what you want to do after college.

I am going to be a senior in college soon, and I am still unsure of what I am doing after I graduate. It used to worry me, but now I am sure it will all be okay. I know I am on the right path for me and I will end up where I need to be in the end. 

 

Here’s to another year!