Twenty

I called my mom earlier this week and she said, “Nineteen and twenty aren’t so different. Twenty just means you’re a bit more mature. You’ll always feel as if you’re behind—I still feel that way—but the important thing is to keep at it. Keep going.”

It’s a strange feeling, entering the third decade of my life. For the first time, I feel old. And I know, relative to many people, being 20 years old isn’t really old, but nonetheless. When I track these posts that I’ve been doing for the past two years, turning eighteen, and then nineteen, and now twenty, I realize that these nights are always anniversaries of reflections. 8PM, on the dot, expecting to feel renewed, yet finding myself in the same old skin, same old body. Sorting through the gatherings and residual memories of my life, calculating how far I’ve come, how far I’ve yet to explore, and how much I’ve changed. How much the world has changed.

Remembering the faintest image of a little girl, splashing around a pond with a slice of fruit, sticky in her hand, and her grandfather’s bicycle laid upon the grass. Remembering that that moment was the equivalent of a lifetime.

The best gift I received today was a birthday voicemail from Ethan and Ariel—as I was listening to it on my way back to my room, I just started crying, because I still find it difficult to believe that people care about me like this. I’ve spent so much of my life believing that I don’t deserve anything grand, and that I’m much more inclined to give than receive. To feel loved is to feel responsible for upholding that love, but it’s also an admission of need. And needing something, or someone, isn’t as terrible as I thought it would be. If anything, it’s a kind of warmth. Tenderness. Something akin to peace. Something like home.