What a whirlwind of a day it’s been, this birthday-eve of mine. I’ve cried in the rain and smiled in the bathroom of a hair salon. I attended a Zoom lecture in the backseat of an Uber on the grittiest components of Freud’s psychology, and I unknowingly ran into a favorite professor of mine in a new coffee shop, not recognizing the rest of his body.

Overall, I’d call this a rough day. One of those days that’s saturated in emotion. A day that has you checking the weather app hourly, wondering when the clouds will finally part. Today? No. Tomorrow, unfortunately not. But I am hopeful because tomorrow I turn 20. Tomorrow I turn twenty. While this day has been tinged with hopelessness, I can say with hope that this day is not a reflection of my nineteenth year. However, I guess it is a reflection of how I feel about turning twenty. Nineteen was bold. Nineteen was a malleable flame of light, a dynamic melody that ebbed and flowed, and for some reason, the fire dims and the music fades when I think about this new decade of life.

I feel pressured. I feel anxious about what I have and have not done. What I have and have not accomplished. I keep viewing this age as a milestone, and while yes, the changing of that ten’s digit is something to acknowledge with a little extra fervor, I feel as if there’s an overarching graph, like the kind they use to measure the stock market (which I have ZERO understanding of, by the way. Which I guess proves the point I’m trying to make.) of where I should be by my twenties. Tomorrow, the slope of the line on that graph increases. By a lot. That’s the way I see it, anyway. But, thankfully, that’s not the way it is.

As I write this, I have five hours left of being a teenager, but I have the rest of my life to be strong, vocal, nurturing, and compassionate. I have the rest of my life to learn, to hone my surroundings to the things that benefit me the most, to surround myself with enriching people and places. To build an environment where I can evolve with love and respect. I’m proud of the progress that nineteen made on this goal that was born just as I was, and I have full faith in twenty to continue fanning that flame. While my last day of being a teenager has been literally and metaphorically gloomy, I still plan to forecast hope in the future. And here’s why.

I hinted earlier that I dyed my hair today, and even though I left the salon with a look I wasn’t expecting, I walked through the rain to a coffee shop I’ve always wanted to try but have never been able to get to. Well, since I broke from the city bus system to Uber to my hair salon, I finally found myself on the same street as this place. 

As I ordered my latte, I noticed a half-familiar face in line behind me. “Half-familiar” as in “I’ve seen your face on Zoom, but you’re currently wearing a mask and I have no way to confirm that you’re only about four inches taller than me.” “Half-familiar” as in “I think I know you, but I’m also a long way from home, so what’re the odds I see someone I know?” The lack of confirmation of this man’s identity took all of my much-needed focus, so I wrote him a quick email, leaving the subject for last. I always struggle with this part. I first typed, “!”, but then I quickly deleted it because that’s way too ominous for an email subject. To a professor. In today’s climate. Then I typed, “Hi”. This was also bad. After deleting that horrible subject line, and I’m begging my twenties to teach me how to properly fill a subject line, I began to pose the question, “Possible name of this professor…” I stopped, trying to figure out if the best word would be “sighting” or “spotting”. I moved the cursor from my subject line to my search bar and thought of a context similar to my own, hoping to find examples of “sighting” used in a sentence. 

“Deer sighting,” I typed. After seeing the plethora of articles that appeared from that search, I approved “sighting” and sent the email. It was him, by the way. 

After getting some work done, I closed my laptop without closing any of my tabs, and called an Uber home. Where I sat in the darkness of the rainclouds and called my mom an embarrassing amount of times, feeling her grow more and more helpless every time she answered. 

As the darkness of the clouds turned to darkness from the setting Sun, I looked out my window for the first time in a while that day, and my jaw dropped at the sight before me.

Deer. On the roof of a building right next to mine. Playing in the puddled water. 

I couldn’t take my eyes off of them, but when I finally did, I glanced at the open tabs on my laptop, one of which being the article about deer sightings that I had opened earlier today. It detailed what this moment meant, which was critical to read on this seemingly meaningless day. 

Some believe that seeing deer is the universe demanding your stillness and full attention. Demanding your presence. Deer are beautiful and mighty and full of grace. Powerful and intuitive, always looking to their surroundings in search of opportunity. 

Coincidences do not exist--not in my mind, anyway. These are words I needed to read. This was an experience I needed to have. Today was perfectly designed, and I am grateful to have lived through it. Grateful for the tears and heartache and the surprises in between. I will enter my twenties with open palms, ready to receive all of the blessings that days like this have to offer. 

11/6/2020 (happy birthday, mom)

During one of the phone calls with my mom, I told her that I missed the family and friends who watched me grow up. She just sat on the other end of the phone, letting me cry, and sympathizing with me to the best of her ability...trying her hardest not to mention that my best friend Claire was waiting for me at the Halloween movie night I was invited to later that evening. I had to find out for myself when I sunk into my friends’ leather couch, locking my gaze on the TV (which was playing Frozen 2. Great movie, but a little misleading for a Halloween movie night, I must say). I showed up to this gathering with my friends because I told them I would, but my emotions had no intentions of being social that night. That instantly changed when Claire walked out of their kitchen. 

I turned twenty in the company of some of the most compassionate people I know. I basked in the sunlight, which appeared against all odds. I drank only the best coffee and laughed at what most would call the worst jokes. I turned twenty with my eyes set on tomorrow, while still harmonizing with the now. I intend to look out the window more often. To fill in the gaps of the things I do not know. To be beautiful and mighty and full of grace. Powerful and intuitive, always looking to my surroundings in search of opportunity, for myself and the ones I hold close. 

Twenty will be brighter. Twenty will be bolder. Twenty will whisk me away. 


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