Turning 21 this week has definitely been a milestone, but I'm not celebrating for the typical reasons like being able to go to bars, dance at night clubs, or buy myself a drink. For me, birthdays aren't a reminder that you've aged another year or existed for another 12 months, but a reminder that you were lucky enough to truly live life for another 365 days and get to celebrate the adventures you'll live during those next 365 days.
365 days ago, there was so much uncertainty going on in my life for many different reasons I won't bore you with explaining; however, I truly wasn't sure what life was going to be like at the end of that summer let alone by my next birthday. When I reflect on my life since my birthday last year, so much has changed on so many levels...
I switched majors and courses in college this past year to something I am very passionate about, although I don't get the same straight A's anymore. I study a million times harder and got my first ever C's. A year ago, I was afraid to make this change and dreaded messing up a solid GPA, but now I've learned to accept these C's not as failures, but as proof of courage. Courage to follow your passions and not let letters on a piece of paper define what you learned from a course.
I've learned a lot about friendships this past year and how I value close friendships. There are different kinds of friends and all friendships are forever changing, but I've learned that the best of friends will always value you when you're at your best, but also at your worst. I used to think you should try hard to be everyone's best friend, but more and more I realize that quantity truly doesn't matter, it's the quality. There's nothing wrong with having 100 pennies in your pocket, but I'd like to have four quarters in my other pocket, too.
This year, I focused more on spending my time doing things that I love and am passionate about. It's not always easy, but I've had a lot less regrets. For instance, I almost didn't have an internship this summer. I started scouring summer internships during Christmas break last year and applied to over 70 internships all over the place, and I ended up with only five interviews and a lot of rejections. A lot of people couldn't understand why I didn't apply to other types of internships just for the sake of securing one. I am truly lucky to have gotten an internship I love with a great team of people I've learned to admire too, but I am most proud that I didn't "settle" for something I didn't love, like, or was even moderately interested in.
I am an even bigger believer in working hard and believing in your dreams.
There are so many other changes, lessons, and adventures I'm thankful to have lived this past year, but one of my standout adventures going into 21 is walking across the Brooklyn Bridge at sunrise. I'm still not sure what was the greater adventure: seeing the sunrise over the Manhattan skyline with few people in sight, getting those balloons and traveling with them on a packed subway up to my apartment and then back down on the subway to the bridge, waking up at 3am after an hour's sleep that night, or having to take over 500+ photos because the wind kept moving the balloons to look like "12" and then blew away said balloons.
A big thank you goes out to my good friend David though, who helped me make this dream adventure come true.
Cheers to another year of living life to the fullest!