I can't believe it's already been 20 years. Or that it's only been 20 years. Or maybe I just can't believe the unimaginable amount of life that you've experienced, and the amount of socks you've managed to lose, in the last two decades of your existence.
For you, the first part was easy. You learned to walk and talk, go to school and ride a bike. You started a sport (and then you tried four more), you learned to drive (sort of), and somewhere between jumping on the trampoline and running to your 8:00am lecture -- you grew up.
So, here's to the ups, downs, sideways and backwards of the past 20 years.
You got your first job, and then your second and third and fourth and fifth. You collapsed with exhaustion after a 70-hour week, made friends that only a shared hatred of your job could make, and learned how a smile and an "Ok, great!" can hide the fact that you're secretly imagining dart throwing at a customer's head.
You went to college and tried to follow someone else's dreams, felt yourself get swept up in assumptions of what you were supposed to do next, and felt like a complete failure when you couldn't match up. You began to understand that following your passions didn't mean you were giving up, and that being smart didn't always just mean being a doctor.
You made your first dinner and ate on the floor in front of a T.V. that didn't work -- whispered to yourself, "These are the best years of your life!" as you poured milk into a wine glass. That night, you slept on a friend's sofa after locking yourself out of your apartment. Hats off to you for those superb adulting skills.
You laid in your driveway with tears rolling down your face to splash against the concrete as if to give the moonlight pools to reflect in.
You drove alone through mountains at sunrise, watched golden light filter through falling leaves and decided no one, not even the man on the moon, could make you feel worthless.
You swore up-and-down that this, this last thrift-shopping spree, would be the one that unlocked the creative genius in you; unlock the master that could take a beer-stained wife-beater and spin it into your own replica of Bella Hadid's street style. You gave yourself a pat on the back every time you saw it in your closet, imagined the great outfits you would pair it with, and wore it to bed for two years straight.
You learned how to stay up late and make coffee early; you spent nights in the library with your friends and laid in circles on the floor, breathless with laughter, after boiling the water out of the pot trying to make mac n cheese. You found family in strangers and made futons home, and learned a love only youth could know.
You've felt like you could take on the world and then took a breath just to feel the world tightening around your throat. You've watched people around you who seem to have their whole life planned out and wondered where you went wrong. Two days later, you've felt like a puzzle with the last piece in check -- like no one and nothing could bring you down.
You've felt alone, confused, overwhelmed, anxious and lost. You've felt powerful, loved, enchanted, excited, ambitious and grateful. It has a been a ride unlike anything you could ever imagine, and you've barely even left the gate.
So, this is to you. This is to every moment you doubted yourself, and to every moment you'll wonder what the hell you're doing. This is to remind you to say "Why not?", to never let anyone make you feel less, to make the most for the memories, and to hold on to those memories with all your might. This is to tell you that you don't have to know where you're going to know how far you'll go.
This is to you.