At midnight tonight I turn 20. It’s a bit surreal to be honest. I thought I would know everything by this point — that I’d be self-assured like the grown-ups I look up to. But age brings an ironic wisdom: that despite aging, I’ll never be entirely wise.
This year I’ve matured and grown through rewarding and wonderful, and sometimes trying experiences. I look back on all of the things that 19 year old me was yet to learn.
A year ago I didn’t know what missing a person could feel like. I couldn’t imagine having something I treasured taken abruptly and unapologetically away. I’ve learned to be grateful for the incredible people in my life.
A year ago, I was enamoured by the idea of someday changing the world through math. It would be a challenging realization that this “someday” may indeed be very distant. Nevertheless, I would learn that I don’t have to wait until “someday” to change the world. Kindness and selflessness, like math, are gifts that I can develop to have a positive impact on the world. Those that truly want to make a difference aren’t fixated on fame or glory.
A year ago, I would never have guessed at the joy that my first teaching job would bring me. I would soon discover that patience and preparation would equip me to help university students, and I would realize that teaching will bring me happiness in my future career.
A year ago, I hadn’t yet considered my independence. Soon I would question whether the relationships in my life were propelling me forward or holding me back. I would weigh the people I cared for against my autonomy and I would make some difficult decisions.
A year ago, no one had ever told me a secret I was genuinely honoured to keep. I didn’t know what it was like to be completely trusted.
There’s always more to learn.
As I start this next decade of my life, I have to be open to new experiences and hardships and miracles. I have to forgive the people I’d rather forget, and leave my regrets behind. I have to smile more, work harder, drive slower, pirate less movies, read more books, and stop lying to my dentist about how often I floss. I need to tell the people I love, that I love them, twice as often, and I have to double the number of people I do.
I’m up for the challenge!