Now that I’m doing round two in college, it is at this time of year that I usually don’t give much thought to my birthday. For one thing, most of my buddies as well as myself are prepping for the semester to pick up again, and it’s day on which I was born yes, but so were plenty others in the world. I don’t feel any older or necessarily wiser…although as I sit here in my jammies typing this, I will take this time to reflect on some of the wisdoms I have gathered within the past 365 days.
Wisdom is not just knowing the smart, moral, or dutiful thing to do, but applying it. Or, as I have heard countless times, “Experience is the best teacher!” and something about learning from mistakes making one wiser. And believe me, I officially have two decade’s worth of mistakes to look back on, laugh at (maybe), and learn from.
If current me could go back in time to the me from August 2012, 19-year-old me would be shocked for two reasons a) the concept of time travel, and b) what I’ve done and what I’ve gathered in merely a year’s time.
I could subject my readers to paragraphs upon paragraphs of all these little wisdoms, but I won’t. Just a few bullet points highlighting the most important ones:
– They say that a situation is what you make of it. I don’t entire agree. Some situations truly suck, and there’s not much you can do about it, especially if you did not see it coming. If this is the case, then while you cannot always reverse the problem, you can come up with methods of coping and/or “escaping.” Those who know me know that I was, at the very least troubled during first semester. However, while I was not entirely elated, I found some methods of escape: 1) travel opportunities, 2) That’s Classy-fied, and 3) focusing on the good – which have become more abundant and easier to identify with time.
– People can surprise you – both positively and negatively. After being surprised negatively a few consecutive times, I became skeptical or cynical of almost everyone and their intentions. Perhaps people saw me with those same eyes. I regret this. Fortunately I’ve learned that the best can be found in the most unexpected places, and the ones that are in it for the long haul will in fact, be there for the long haul. The ones who bring out the best in you might be an old high school friend you only get to talk to occasionally nowadays, or be that random person who checks in on you on the random.
– I used to think that if I wasn’t a certain way, I had to change myself to fit into whatever situation it was that I was in. Obviously, this is a lifelong struggle for everyone, and anyone who denies it is lying. But I came to this conclusion – no one can make me inferior without my consent. I eventually learned to not give a (fill in the blank). If you like me, you’ll support me, and I’ll for sure return the favor. If not – well, like I said – I won’t give much thought to you.
– Call it cliché or straight from a movie script, but I’ve re-discovered that life is indeed beautiful. Not all the time of course, but I would have seen it more often if I had stopped to look. The forthcoming years are full of possibilities, vibrant, fantastical possibilities – yet they will be unpredictable too. As I said, old me would be surprised by new me’s adventures. And next year me will feel the same about current me. Somehow, even as a born type-A planner, I find beauty in not knowing exactly what comes next.
Some friends ask me the obligatory “So, do you feel older?” question each year. Truth is – no, not really. I don’t necessarily feel more confident due to age, nor any more sophisticated or invincible. That all depends on my mood. Some days I’ll look like a seventeen-year-old, feel like a thirty-something, act like a twelve-year-old with my friends, talk like a senior citizen, but still have the heart of a continually learning double decade-r.