My birthday is at the beginning of July, and because of this, I started school at freshly 5 years old. I was a smart kid, and my parents didn’t think it would be of any benefit to keeping me home another year just for the sake of my age or development. Looking back on that, I’m extremely appreciative of my parent’s decision; not only did their decision prevent me from ending up in the high school class of 2020, but it also has allowed me to celebrate my accomplishments even more than most since I was considered disadvantaged by many for being younger and smaller. I graduated at the top of my high school class at 17 years old, and now, I hope to obtain my undergraduate degree at the ripe age of 20, two years younger than the average college graduate. My age has never held me back, and I value that to the highest extent.
While there are perks, it’s also pretty scary going through everything one step behind everyone else. I’ve been blessed to be able to grow alongside people who became older and wiser at the same time as me, which allowed me to be wiser than most my age. At the same time, I saw the turmoil that came with each new milestone before I reached it. I watched my friend wreck her car as soon as she turned 16 and was eligible to drive, and I—barely old enough to obtain a learner’s permit—quickly wondered if being independent behind the wheel was that difficult.
Now, all of my friends in college are older than me, ranging from the ages of 20 to almost 23. I’m never made out to feel younger or less of because of my age, but being younger has definitely given me the upper hand and allowed me to see what I expect as my roaring 20’s approach me. So, here I am, less than four months away from turning 20, and coming to the conclusion of what I expect when July 9th rolls around.
When I turn 20, I expect that I’ll develop the mentality that my adult life truly begins. It’ll be time to get a job, get married, and start a family before I can even blow out the candles on my special day. From what I’ve observed, people either panic as soon as they turn 20, or they are in denial until they’re almost in their mid-20’s and then it’s almost a look of defeat when they realize how old they are and haven’t checked off the job, marriage and kids boxes of life. When I turn 20, I expect to do neither.
Life moves differently for every single person on this Earth, and if anything were to be a competition in life, it would absolutely not be the speed at which we accomplish our life goals. Want to be married with kids by 25? Try your best and make it happen. If it doesn’t or simply cannot happen, please don’t mourn or be discouraged. Your time is still meant to happen. I have always been a believer in the universe and its control over us. It knows when we are ready for everything, and trust me, I’ll be the first to admit that it isn’t always fair to us. We have to trust the process of life and wait for our time in everything we do.
When I turn 20, I want the people that are currently in my life to be people I can trust for a really long time. I won’t say forever, because I understand that not all friendships are meant to last forever, whether that’s at 20 or 40. However, I still want to acknowledge turning 20 as a turning point in everyone’s life. It’s the beginning of what your adulthood life will be like.
That being said, the people that surround you should fill you with sunshine. They should help you reflect on yourself and make you a better person, as you should be able to do with them. They should also be able to support every decision you make, whether that’s what they would personally do or not. They should celebrate your victories and mourn your losses. Competition should go out the window. All of my friends will have these qualities once I’m 20.
Last, I want to treasure myself differently when I turn 20. I feel like from our early teens, we are only so capable of caring about ourselves. The number of obstacles in your life at 12 seems astronomical given a different perspective, but you simply don’t know any better at that age. Once my 20’s approach me, I want to put the majority of labels behind me. I don’t want to be the high school or college student, the tennis player, the majorette, the Communication Science major, the girl with so many followers who gets so many likes on her Instagram. When I turn 20, I want to be Gabby. I expect by then I’ll realize that being me, whatever that entails, is exactly what I need to get me through the next decade of life.
That being said, here’s to enjoying the last fraction of my teen years and keeping my heart true as I leave it all behind. Here’s to the roller coaster of life and the unpredictability my previous 19 years have prepared me for. Here’s to becoming the woman I’m meant to be. Until then, here’s to 19. As for 20, I anxiously await you.