My birthday today ended with quiet, mascara-smudged tears staining my pillowcase.
"How can this be?" you ask.
"Birthdays are the one and only day of the year that's all about YOU!
Presents, parties, cards, phone calls, texts, and a FB profile full of well-wishes and love from people you didn't think even knew you still existed (mostly because you'd forgotten many of them did)--yes, birthdays bring all of this attention!
all. for. you.
What more could you ask for?"
Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I had all of that and so, SO much more.
But that didn't change the fact that my "special" day seemed so very far from special. So far, in fact, that some might even call it sad.
1. I had to say goodbye to two people I love to...
2. ...drive to Provo.
3. ...arrive late to class.
4. ...watch a phenomenal documentary that made me feel the full weight of my own mediocrity.
5. ...semi-bomb a presentation I'd dedicated the whole start of my week to.
6. ...drive like a maniac back to Salt Lake.
7. ...watch a biting-cold YW activity I planned bomb.
8. ...wait alone for my to-go box birthday dinner.
9. ... then drive home in a silent car thinking about it all.
And let's all be honest...bad things happen when I start to think.
...to puzzle over why I've yet to prioritize time and make the most of every minute.
...to try and imagine what life would be like if I stopped enduring life and started living and loving it.
...to question how I could possibly have let myself come with a month-and-a-half of graduation with nothing to show for it.
..to wonder how I have allowed myself to pass up every. single.opportunity. my major had to offer.
...to try and think back to when I decided to give up my high-achieving ways and settle for good instead of great.
...to ask myself when and why I ever felt it'd be ok to give my YW anything less than 120%.
...to try and see if I even know the face of the girl eying me in my rear-view mirror.
And I realized...
I really don't think I do.
But here's the thing. The longer I sat there thinking, the more I realized every single worry that stemmed from my 21st seemed to be about me. Me, me, me! This internal dialogue turned out to be a one-sided conversation between me and my biggest critic (who happens to be me as well).
And so, looking back on this post a day later I realized something...
I think I had a mini mid-life crisis.
Really! At 21! I couldn't seem to put my finger on it last night...couldn't seem to pinpoint what exactly had made me so sad. But with the help of time and a much better frame of mind it's so obvious to me now that 21 had been a benchmark year for me my whole life. And when I finally reached it, and life didn't look exactly how I'd pictured it, I freaked out and felt like I'd FAILED...big time.
I had some silly notion that I'd let my golden years sail right on by and that, if I didn't fix myself RIGHT THIS SECOND, before I knew it I'd be bidding farewell to my 90th year wondering why I hadn't decided to live life sooner.
With that whole realization came an a-ha moment...a little epiphany of sorts.
I finally understood the old adage, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."
And so I stopped thinking about me.
...stopped thinking about my benchmarks.
...stopped thinking of the ways I measure my own success.
...stopped thinking of what I hadn't done and what I didn't have.
...and started thinking of the people in my life who've given me reason to celebrate in spite of it all.
And that list goes on.
And will make up the entirety of my next post.
I have SO many things to be thankful for!
SO many people I love!
SO many WONDERFUL changes in my 20th year that have made me happier than I've ever been (like marriage maybe???)!
And SO many little reminders that I matter...
no matter what my critical, crisis-prone alter-ego might have to say about it.
So get ready to see, that, while my birthday kind of bombed, I've had the HAPPIEST birth-week, month, and year of my short little life!
I'm planning on having many more of these to come...sans crises of course.
P.S. We've weathered this storm, but I have to say...I can't imagine what I'm going to do with myself when my 30th, 40th, and 50th come around. Yeesh...
...and as my dear Parker would say, "I'm scurred jus' thinkin' 'bout it!"