9 Days Till 19, A Reflection On My First Year of Being an Adult.
Written on January 21st, 2020
It's a cold night in 2018. The bus jostles me and my teammates around as I sit exhausted next to my best friend. She has her head on my shoulder, and while she sleeps I watch out the window as the occasional streetlight passes by, and I can see the rest of the team, mostly sleeping. The window feels cold on my forehead, and it fogs up the glass as I breathe deeply, reflecting on my memories, and dreaming about my future as I listen to "A World Alone" by Lorde.
Throughout my life, I've always been afraid of my future for various reasons.
In 5th grade, I grasped the concept of existentialism, and questioned everything.
In 6th grade, I worried over what would happen when I could no longer identify myself as just a 'reader' or a 'swimmer' because past that, I didn't know what else I was.
In 7th and 8th grade I was terrified of becoming 18.
I use to tell my friends that I hoped to date an ambitious man because I myself never thought I had any drive.
I remember several distinct nights when I would cry over the fear of what the future would bring, and my dad would hear me from downstairs and comfort me. In middle school, I understood that I wanted and needed to have a purpose in my life.
I was so scared and frustrated that I would never find it. I thought I would always chasing something unclear.
I remember being terrified of moving when I was 15. I would be leaving my friends and my home behind, but I desperately wanted to go. I remember sitting on the rooftop with my two best friends as we watched the stars and said goodbye. And I remember the most beautiful night with my dad, as we sat out on the front porch in the middle of the night, while the cicadas were chirping and the warm summer breeze held my heartache. We both knew it was time to leave.
I was so terrified to grow up, I never thought I was ready. I was terrified of graduating because whenever someone asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up, all I could say is that "I wanted to be happy".
And now I'm here.
Not only have I graduated, but I have embarked on the most amazing journey, and I'm accompanied by the most amazing people, and I feel driven towards a bigger sense of purpose.
I know I'm still growing, and in many ways, I feel like my life has started all over again. My childhood taught me so much.
My athletics and the dedication to wake up at 4:30 to dive into a cold pool and swim in a lane half-asleep provided me with a mental edge that Jocko would be proud of.
Rugby also taught me how to hit hard (literally and metaphorically), and how to take a beating and still stand up and keep going.
And long hours in the weight room taught me to push through, even when I wanted to give up.
And even more recently, I feel like I have a stronger grasp than ever on what I want, and how I'm going to get there. I will be fully transparent with you,
I wasn't ready at 16.
I didn't know what I was getting myself into. But after two years, now almost three, I feel like I finally have obtained focus. I feel like my mind is finally cleared from the fogginess of adolescence. I feel like I am no longer drifting, and while I know storms will brew I will sail farther away from it every day.
I have never done things like this before. I have never networked and learned from others like this before. I have never been knocked off my ass, humbled, and tested like this before. In work, in my own mind, and by the people around me. Yet, I also know it's only the beginning of some major and exciting growing pains, friendships, personal, and professional growth.
Looking back on my first year of adulthood, I am beyond grateful for this life. I am more than ecstatic to eat dirt and begin to truly live and thrive. I will admit that I'm a bit intimidated by the challenges up ahead, but I'm also filled with confidence and positive energy that every defeat will be temporary, and I will brush myself off and keep building.
So, on to the next chapter...