Nineteen is such an awkward age to be. “Seventeen” sounds fun, “eighteen” sounds a little older, and “twenty” sounds like we’re going somewhere. But nineteen?? Where is nineteen exactly?
I don’t know if you heard, but I had wanted to disappear for my birthday this year. I hadn’t actually planned on finding my way back before I even left.
Boy, after listening to my stories and feelings about my birthdays in general, decided to throw me a surprise. He tried to gather as many of my friends as he could. It was a Saturday night so, unfortunately, many people could not make it, but I am no less thankful! Especially after I saw and heard all the effort he put into it.
Some ordinary treats: I received four new notebooks, a book, two sets of colored markers, a couple of pens, and a dress. Over the one and a half days, I also got a box of cupcakes and brownies, two cakes, and an apple pie. I enjoy how my bibliophilia and my sweet tooth are becoming quite predictable.
Some extraordinary treats: I still have not digested the compliments that have been passed to me on the occasion. And I’m not saying they only said it because it was my birthday. The words were way too surreal.
There was the letter from Joy, telling me over and over that she was thankful to have me and know me (which was a super wonderful feeling because she is one of my favorite people in the world). There was the video from Danie, reminding me that I am blessed and that I have something to look forward to; and from Alex, putting our friendship down into words in a way that made me laugh and tear up.
(I didn’t really notice it before: my conversations with Alex vary from death and the supernatural to ohmygod chicken and other sinful dishes. I appreciate our talks twice as much now.)
I took to heart every comment or message that said I was beautiful, that I was inspiring or admirable, that I’ve got a fan, that they’re lucky to have met me, that they’re thankful for everything I’ve ever done, and that they’ll never stop believing in me. (Dammit Ara, I’ve read your wallpost five times and I still tear up every time.)
I’m not a very optimistic person, nor do I have a healthy self-esteem. I’m constantly finding things to change or improve in myself. But since people went out of their way to let me feel loved the way I am right now, I can’t help but feel pretty darn special.
To be very honest, I wasn’t looking forward to this birthday at all. I wasn’t even the least prepared for it. As the hour drew nearer, I knew I would have to face it. I would have to face being nineteen. Another year of experiences and lessons will have passed. Another year of being sad. Another year of being a survivor. I’m thankful. But I’m also tired.
Yes, I have learned a lot about loving and being loved. But I have also learned to be more cautious. I can no longer take everyone with open arms, no matter how much they think they deserve it.
For better or for worse, this is how I will spend my twentieth year alive: carefully.
I will live adventurously, plunging headfirst into my feelings, armed with poetry and self-honesty. But I will try to have the courage to care, to pick my adventures and my battles cautiously. I will realize that life is a gift and time is a wealth I cannot and must not squander. I will treasure it and I will spend it as wisely as I can afford to do.
As for everyone who went out of their way to leave a special imprint on these past two and a half days: thank you!! ♥ Your reminders of love warm the heart.