by Cherszy (@cherszy)
Goodbye teenage years; hello young adulthood. Well, it’s simply just a happy twenteenth birthday for me (and for others out there who share the same special day as I do) today. It’s the big 2-0!
Not that I find growing a year older a comforting idea, but turning 20 is just not the same as turning 14 or turning 61. It’s a transition year. It’s the ‘I’m not yet a girl, not yet a woman’ year. It’s about an exit and an entry at the same time – very much how water coexists as solid ice and liquid water at zero degrees Celsius. Being 20 – or at least turning 20 – leaves one at such a state where two stages of life come into some sort of synchronization that leads one to blossom into a better someone. I am not there yet, but I am about to start living that coexisted state today until exactly a year from now. And hopefully, when I get there – when the age 21 is about to take me with it in its adulthood journey – I will have transformed into someone I’m going to be proud of.
Turning 20 may be about leaving those teenage days, those teenage prejudices, and that teenage attitude and way of thinking behind, but that doesn’t mean it’s also about leaving that teenage spirit. Not just because we’re transforming into adults means we can’t retain that teenage spirit, that feeling of being a joyous and carefree teenager. It’s like you can continue to grow older, continue on to adulthood, but you can always pick a younger age to accompany your spirit. I happen to pick the number 16 just because it’s my favorite number and just because I happen to have enjoyed that 16-year old me. I am 20 today and I will be 21 next year, but I’ll always feel like I’m 16. The thing is, we all have to act like our age, think like our age, and understand like our age, whatever it is, but we don’t necessarily have to feel like our age. Doesn’t mean when you’re 62 and you’re acting like 62 and thinking like 62 means you have to feel that you’re 62 and that you’re old and weak and should just be retiring instead of playing the piano and feeling like you’re any 23-year old person who enjoys the beauty of self-played music. You can feel like you have the zest of an 18-year old even at a more mature age. We mature, yes, but we can mature gracefully by letting ourselves believe that our spirits are immortal and are age-defiable.
And as I gain one more year in life today, as I enter into the transition stage, as I wait for my moment of adulthood to come and for my teenage years to let me go, I will always remember to let my spirit continue to chase butterflies, to blow bubbles into the air, and to laugh like time has frozen for eternal happiness to fill me as I continue on with the unwritten road of my life. And so should you when it’s time for you to grow another year. Because, after all (warning: cliché statement to follow), age is just a number. But, yes, age is really just a number. It just lets us keep track of how long we’ve been around, but it doesn’t count anything else. Certainly not the number of wrinkles that form on our foreheads, not the number of blackheads and whiteheads that pop out of our faces, and not even the number of times we should stick to our heads the idea that we are slowly becoming old, weak, useless, and life-deteriorating creatures every single blow of the birthday candle.
As we celebrate one birthday after another, we grow not with the idea of arthritis and additional white hair but with an idea of having more essence to live and more self to share. We grow with love and with a bigger understanding of what’s outside the walls of our houses. We age with more selfless offerings and less greedy goals. But, in order to accomplish all these with our greatest potential, the most important point to remember is that although we age, although we go from 19 to 20 or from 76 to 77 within 365.25 days, an elixir of youth is always inside our spirits which we have to constantly activate. It will never run out. It will always be there. All you have to do is ignite it.
We are young. We are strong. We are significant.
And I was a 19-year old, now officially a 20-year old, but always a 16-year old.
Happy (insert incoming age here) birthday to all who are celebrating their birthdays today! Tweet me or comment below, so I can personally greet you virtually.
And for all those who have celebrated and will be celebrating their birthdays, always feel young but let yourself grow in generosity and love.