Sunday, February 15, 2015

an obligatory birthday essay

I'm 19, and I've never been so happy.

Wow, this year. I don't know, I feel like 18 started out crazy good, hit a rough patch, lots and lots of good mingled with quite a bit of awfully hard, and it's going out on a quietly wonderful note. So I guess 18 was a pretty good year.

getting into byu / getting into summerfuel / grandpa getting baptized / exempting finals and having "i'm a senior i do what i want (aka sleep and eat lunch with mom and my bestie)" days / graduating / the last trip to the lake house / OXFORD / late summer honors / BYU / living close to dad's family / discovering swig and the heaven on earth that is a dirty dr pepper / first job (scooping ice cream) / living a block from costa vida / dad visiting me at byu / the rollins coming to byu / haircut / first haunted house / finding my future roommates and best friends / thanksgiving / getting my first writing job / return of the bangs / going home for the holidays / bringing my car out to school / friends coming to netflix / first galentine's day

Ongoing highlights (things that weren't one time events but that really made this year special)
sunday night mac and cheese parties / writing 150 / swig runs / cousin lunch dates / movie nights and 3 am chats with the girls / english 251 / waiting for divine comedy shows / the mountains / crossfit / creamery runs

I was going to make a list of low points but after typing out the highlight reel, talking about loneliness and change just sounds depressing, especially since they're on vacation for the moment. That highlight reel also made me realize how good 18 was. I've been so caught up on how excited I am for 19 that it didn't click that the reason I'm in such a good place right now is because 18 was pretty nice to me. I've been thinking about all the hard stuff that I'm glad is in the past, so much so that I wasn't appreciating the happy. Gosh darn it, counting your blessings really is an effective way of making you happy and sentimental!

I was feeling sappy last night and I read last years birthday post. The last paragraph really hit me. This is what I wanted for 18 as I said goodbye to 17: "18 is going to be my year. The first full year in a while where I am completely, utterly, unashamedly myself... I'm going to be the type of person I dream of becoming. I'm going to England this summer. I'm going to college this fall. I am going to put my creative soul to use. I have the same number of arms and legs and eyes as any other girl out there. Why should I sit by and say, "one day..." when other girls are out there today doing just the things I say I'll do one day? Gosh darn it Mal the time is now! Yolo and what not... I will not be afraid or embarrassed or ashamed. I have learned that nothing worthwhile comes from pretending to be someone you're not. True happiness comes from being 100 percent yourself regardless of what other people say."

Guys, I did it. I pulled that off. I was for sure lightyears away from perfect, but I did 75 percent of the things I promised myself I'd do. And because of that, I can sincerely say that I am starting out 19 in one of the happiest states of mind I've ever been in. My goal was to be myself, to love myself, and to love other people the way I wanted to be loved. Guys, I'm surrounded by some of the best people because I kept that promise to myself. And man, did 18 showed me what it feels like to feel loved. Not romantically, "I'm hopeless and awkward and desperate for love!" to quote Chandler Bing (aka my spirit animal), but I just feel so overwhelmed by the people I have in my life. The friends I've made in Provo, my family back in Georgia, my fam here in Utah, my best friend back home, the crossfit communities- there have just been so many times in the past few weeks where I've come to realize how wonderful people are. So many selfless acts of service and love, so many laughs and late night chats and voicemails and jokes and group texts and sweet notes that have reminded me that this world isn't just full of haters. There are lovers. So, so many lovers with the best souls and the sweetest spirits. I just want to give everyone in my life right now a big bear hug and a dirty because sharing is caring. People are good, guys. People are just so good.

So, moving forward. 19. That sounds so much more grown up than 18, doesn't it? Only one more year in my teens, but 19 sounds too old to be a teenager. Too young for adulthood, too old for teenagedom. A perfect in between. So perfectly me. I'm not fully extroverted, but I'm not completely introverted. I'm independent and stubborn, but I still ask questions about how to work the washer and dryer. I love dresses but could live in the running shorts I wear to crossfit. I exist in a state of in between. 19 is perfect.

19 is going to be good. I can feel it in my bones. There's deep tinglys in my toes. Moving into an apartment, working, exploring. A full year as a college student. I'm excited. Bring on more independence in very tiny doses with ddps to help me cope with it! Here's to a year of enjoying the little in betweens.

Sincerely, mad

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