Twenty One

Younger me would be very disappointed to see that 21-year-old me is not a super chic, independent business woman who drinks lattes everyday, carries a designer purse, and goes for weekly nail appointments to maintain a french manicure.. but quite frankly, I’m not sure why I ever thought 21 year olds had their lives together like that. Heck, I’ll be amazed if I’m anything like that by 25, and even that’s a big stretch. Little me needed to chill the heck out. And my obsession with fake nails and warped view that they symbolized success and wealth was so wrong and so weird. I’m very thankful I have grown out of that phase.


So while I’m just a normal university student with real nails (thank god) who can’t afford to drink Starbucks on a daily, or even weekly basis, I did turn 21 yesterday and I’m not quite sure how to feel about it. You always expect that each age of your life will feel so different and distinct from the others, but they all sort of mesh together and one day you realize you have grown up and changed (hopefully for the better) and that being a certain age really doesn’t define where you should be in life. It’s comforting to know that time is a made up concept and just because I am technically legal all over the world now (eek), doesn’t mean I suddenly need to have my whole life figured out… Right? I’m trying to convince myself of this because I swear I just turned 18 and that was crazy enough. 21 is weird. 21 is old. How have I survived this long with my crippling anxiety and fear of just about everything?! All those times I heard a weird noise while home alone and was absolutely certain I would be murdered, and yet here I am. Amazing!


Yesterday was so special and full of love and laughs and good food, which I believe is the recipe to happiness. It started with a 7AM wake up for class, which wasn’t too hard because I must have been subconsciously anxious about my birthday all night as I woke up every hour and struggled to fall back asleep. I came out of my room to find our living room decked out in streamers and balloons (thanks to Maddy who stayed up till I went to sleep to decorate… she’s just the sweetest little human I know!) and an array of cards and gifts sitting on the coffee table. My darling cousin Claire was sitting there waiting for me, and this was extra darling of her because she didn’t have class until later and woke up extra early just for me- a true friend!


A few of my favourite gifts were the books from my parents, one of which was called “The Worrier’s Guide to Life” which was absolutely hilarious and very suiting. I must say I related a little more with its contents that I would like to admit. What can I say, I am a ball of stress and worry. It is something I am continually working on… Hopefully 21 will be the year of peace and relaxation and not overthinking every piece of my life until I fall deep into the dangerously never ending pit of existentialism.


Another funny addition to the spread of gifts on the table was the ugliest plastic crown I’ve ever seen sitting beside a note that read: “This must be worn at all times in the house. Failure to do so will result in shots.” I did my best to keep that thing glued to my head all day because everyone knows that I don’t do well with shots… Unfortunately, the rules were strictly enforced. I did pretty well though, so don’t worry!


I went about my normal day at school and then got some delicious food and went shopping with Michael. My shopping wasn’t as successful as I had hoped it would be and Michael ended up buying way more clothes than me, which always seems to happen. While he is trying a pair of pants and takes one look in the mirror before deciding they’re worth the purchase, I am in the stall next door analyzing every little detail of the jeans I’m trying on that seem to fit perfectly, but wait… are they a little too loose at the bottom? Do I even like this colour of wash?? And I just don’t think they’re high waisted enough… Does this make my butt look bad??? After at least 5 minutes of dissecting every aspect of the denim that had looked so perfect when I first put them on, I left the change room empty handed. Why is life so hard?!


I ended up buying a few sweaters, which ALWAYS happens when I go out looking specifically for summer attire *sigh* and then by the time the shopping extravaganza was over, it was time to eat again! Hallelujah! We headed to Rebar, my favourite spot to eat in Victoria, and right as we pulled into a parking spot I realized I didn’t have my ID. My 21st birthday dinner and I couldn’t even get a drink! I didn’t fret for too long and instead opted for a fresh-pressed green juice, so my inner health freak was rejoicing over the forgotten license.


After dinner, Michael took me to the observatory on campus where UVic has the 5th largest telescope in Canada (or maybe Western Canada, I forget… still pretty dang big!) Since I love stars, outer space, and thinking about the universe until I have my fifth existential crisis of the day, he arranged for us to get our own little tour and viewing. It was super cool and although there wasn’t too much visibility that night, we got to see a nebula which I wouldn’t be able to explain in technical terms to save my life, but I will say it looked like a cloudy patch of AWESOMENESS with some really bright stars in the middle. It blew my mind! Science is not my thing and I wouldn’t survive if I ever tried to get into the real-deal side of astronomy, but it is something I love thinking about and learning about. If I was just a little more left-brain oriented, I would love to be an astronomer. But as a very right-side-brainer, simply looking at stars is enough for me.


All in all, it was a wonderful day and I felt so loved from all the messages and cards and little acts of kindness that were graciously sprinkled throughout my day. It really is the little things in life that make it so great, like getting a card in the mail, or a bouquet of flowers, or $100 dollars from your grandparents (that’s just a little thing, right? Ok, just to clarify I am joking and that is a big thing that I give big thanks for!!!)


Now as for my 21st year of existence, I really don’t know what to expect. Hopefully more laughing, more healthy greens, more learning, and if I’m really lucky, more travelling. And less anxiety. Like, waaaay less.


Oh, and you’re welcome for gracing you with 21 years of my awkward presence.


Lots of love,


Tal

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