In my mind the ages of 19 and 20 are two that get swept under the rug as they are sandwiched between turning 18, when in America a person becomes an "adult" and 21, when in America a person can legally purchase and consume alcohol. But with my birthday coming up next week, the age of 20 has been on my mind a lot.
At the first prospect of turning 20 I didn't think much of it, it's just another year big whoop. My uncle on the other hand kept obsessing over it, telling my cousin and I how big of a deal it was that we were going to turn 20 in the next year. I still didn't quite get his emphasis and obsession on this year.
But now I think I am starting to get it. Turning 20 is something, it's a start of a new decade. It is also in my mind a definitive marker. A marker that ends the chapter of childhood and living at home, being dependent on your parents, but it opens a new door to a horizon of true adulthood and independence, a bit of a daunting prospect if you ask me.
Although, if I had as much self-awareness when I was turning 10 as I do now, the prospect of turning 10 would have seemed just as daunting. But at the time though, I was just excited over the fact of entering the double digits, which seemed significant back then.
When I turned 10 I was headed into fifth grade. I was still in elementary school which is mind boggling to me. Elementary school seems such an eternity ago, but it has only been nine years since I was last there. To think of all that has happened since then until now, is amazing.
In the decade between ages 10 and 20 there is so much growth, change and development. I do not think my 10-year-old self could have pictured where my 20-year-old self would be in 10 years. I also think that if my 10-year-old self met my current self that 10-year-old would be amazed.
In the past decade, I finished elementary school with a fury, I slugged my way through middle school, three years I think most people would care to erase from memory, then I came to high school where I feel like I came into my own and started to become the person I am proud to be today, half way done with my college career.
Even just writing that, made me stop and think "Wow, where has time gone and how can so much happen in 10 years?"
But what about the next decade what does that hold? What will happen between the ages of 20 and 30? In all honesty, I have no clue.
There is so much more gray area in the upcoming decade in comparison to the last decade. Between 10 and 20, my life path was dictated by school, knowing year after year, I would be guided by going from one grade to the next, and then one school to another. But in the next decade the guide of school that I have known for so long will evaporate. By the time I am 22, I will let go of regularly being in school and have to figure out how to be a "working professional," doing who knows what.
In the last decade, I was secure in the fact that for the most part I would be living with my parents still, in the house I grew up in, in the same city. But now in a few years who knows where I will be living. I am going to school away from home, I want to come back to the place I grew up, but I don't know if the path to get back there will be straight. Maybe I'll spend a few years in one place, and then a couple in another. Who knows.
By the end of the next decade I could be married for all I know. That too is something that is currently unfathomable to me, but then again a prospect I look forward to.
Never in my life have there been so many unknowns, so many questions that don't currently have answers. I look at the next decade as an exciting adventure. Who the heck knows what is behind the next door. I am excited to leave behind the rigid structure of being guided along by school and my parents, to stepping out on my own to see what's next.
So here is to turning 20, to the start of something new.