Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Turning 21

I turn 21 tomorrow.

In the last three-hundred and sixty-five days, here are some things I’ve done:

1. Skinny-dipping.  No real explanation needed.
2. Traveled to Europe on my own.  I traveled up to Scotland with Jackie and Julene, and out to Italy with Rachel and Elsa.  I also traveled around Northern England and to Paris with everyone at the London centre.  But to and from Europe, I traveled alone.  This was me, overcoming my fear of the unknown.
3. Lived in London for 3 ½ months.  This is part of a larger goal I have in mind for my life.  Before I settle down somewhere I want to live in several different places for enough time to get the feeling of the place—the pros and cons of living there.  I feel I can’t make an educated decision about where I want to raise a family or live out my life until I’ve experienced several different living situations and circumstances.  London was one such experience; one such circumstance.
4. Went to Versailles.  Ever since I learned of Versailles I’ve wanted to see it.  Because I never believed I’d ever go abroad, I didn’t spend much time thinking about the places I wanted to go or the things I wanted to see, but Versailles I can specifically remember thinking, ‘I want to see that.  I want to go.’  And I did.
5. Traveled to Italy. I wanted to go to Italy, of course I wanted to go.  But by the end of the London trip, I was ready to go home.  Everyone else was going home, but I was going to Italy with two girls I hardly knew.  It was a hard trip, and when I think back on it I feel I went it alone.  But I think of Rome; and I don’t think of much else with quite as much natural fondness.  I realize that while Versailles was the only thing I consciously mentioned to myself, ‘I want to see that,’ the Coliseum and Michelangelo’s Peita were two things that I haven’t been able to get out of my head since the day I saw them.  My heart wanted to see them, but my head never let me admit it.  Going to Italy may be the best thing I ever did for myself.
6. Started Running.  I’ve always hated running—always.  But I’ve proven to myself it can be done.  Just a short run will suffice, and I don’t have to hate it.   For several months I did it every single day.  Now I do it two to three times a week.  But if it’s all the same to you, I’ll call it the same: I’ve started running.
7. Began making Cinnamon Rolls.  Cinnamon rolls may be, hands down, my all-time favorite food.  I search for the perfect cinnamon roll everywhere I go.  But so far, I’ve yet to find it.  A while back it became a life-long endeavor to be able to make the perfect cinnamon roll and a perfect apple pie.  I know I’ve got my whole life to get it right, but I’ve started.  I’ve also finally been introduced to the making of an apple pie, which will be a longer and harder road, I fear, but one worth taking, I have no doubt.
8. Got my Driver’s License.  I know!  I’m turning 21.  I got it in May—almost didn’t make it!  But I did, and now I feel I’ve had it a long time.  A lot of things got in the way, but my right of passage has finally been passed.
9. Lost 10 pounds. This is, as of today at 2:45pm I finally lost 10 pounds.  I know it’s hard to believe with all the baking I’ve been doing, but I have.  I wanted to prove to myself it could be done, and I have.
10. Made Dinners.  I decided when I came home this year that I needed to be more useful than I’ve been and that we also needed to be healthier.  Not everything I make his healthy (see note about baking), but I made a dinner from a new recipe every week.  I’m expanding my repertoire, as well as giving my parents a break once a week.
11. Made Calls.  I used to hate calling people on the phone.  I mean HATE it.  I would do anything to get out of it.  Since I got my job where I was forced to call people constantly--banks, clients, other attorneys, etc.--I had to get over that fear pretty quickly.  And once I really started working at it, I did get over that fear.  There is one less thing in the world that hinders my ability to communicate.

Last year after turning twenty, I wrote down my goals for the year, or for life.

I wrote, “I want to write something quaint; I want to write a story that means something to people. Something that mends people, something that makes people think, something that gives them hope, something that inspires them to be better than they are.

“I want to get out of this routine, this rut, this inability to expand my personality—who I am, what I will do, who I will be. There are good things, things I don’t want to change about myself, but I limit myself too, and I think that’s unnecessary.

“Lastly, I’ve always wanted to travel. Whenever I told someone, the response would be, “Yeah, me too”—as if it weren’t really possible. But I’ve always felt that experience was necessary to the person I want to be.”

As for the first, I don’t know—I don’t think I have.  This year has not been a year for writing.  But it has been a year for many other things, and I’m beginning to get back into my writing the way I think I should, with a few added experiences and points of view.  And what’s important is that even though in some ways I’ve lost my desire to write, writing is still what I want to do.  It’s just not the only thing that makes me happy anymore, but it’s still the way I love to express myself; it’s still what means most to me.

I think going to Europe, and really working hard at making every day a little different and trying to find more things that make me happy has helped me get out of the rut I was in last summer.  And although getting out of the 'rut' that routine creates will be a life-long battle, it's one I intend to win. 

And the last—I have now done a little bit of traveling, and I was right.  The experience was necessary to the person I wanted to be—and I’m closer to that person now than I was before.  I think it was the most selfish thing I've ever done, and I always felt that being selfish was wrong.  But I also think it's one of the most worthwhile things I've ever done, and maybe I'm realizing little by little that wanting things isn't always selfish.  It's closing your eyes to everything else BUT what you want that's selfish.  And working toward what you want isn't wrong unless you refuse to see and help the people beside you.


I also wrote last year that “maybe all the things that I [had (or hadn’t) gone through] in the year of 19 were to get me uncomfortable enough to change, lonely enough to leave, and ready enough to get out.”  This I still think is one of the more insightful things I’ve ever realized about myself.  Why do I have to sink so low before I realize that it’s up to me to swim to the surface if it he surface is what I want?

I want to believe that I can accomplish whatever I desire to accomplish.

I want to write something worth publishing.
I want to learn French.
I want save up to go to Greece.
I want plan and save up to go on a trip to the South with my sisters.
I want to find a way to live in New England.
I want to find a career I feel I was made for and work toward it.
I want to read 50 books.
I want to draw design ideas for Marissa to create.
I want to bake/cook something new every week.
I want to keep in touch with all my friends—even when I’m away.

I have three-hundred and sixty-five days.


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