I am turning 20 in less than a week.
I know most people my age don’t really consider a person’s 20th birthday to be a milestone (in the United States, at least). However, I think age 20 is a pretty big deal. I’ve been alive for two decades. Two decades! As my Nana would say, “Isn’t that something?”
The big “2-0” is not something to be glossed-over. After all, this marks the beginning of arguably the most formative decade of my life. As severe as it sounds, what I do now and in the next few years will potentially lay the foundation for, well, everything else. It’s a frightening but exciting realization.
I am living and traveling in a world that has changed so much since 1996. I know, I know – that sounds really obvious. (Of course the world has changed a lot in 20 years. That’s how it works.) But these past two decades represent my snapshot, my view of the world – and for some reason, I think that’s fascinating. Someday, I will get to share my memories and stories from the early 2000s (and beyond) with people who will be shocked to hear of someone born before 2000.
When I was younger, I used to wonder about the person I would be when I was 16, 18, 20, etc., and it’s surreal to think – here I am! I’m a 20-year-old! Is this where I ever expected I would be? Is this what I expected I would be doing or studying or dreaming about?
There are things I learned, experiences I had, places I went and people I met in my first 20 years that have shaped who I am today.
I spent over a decade of my life focusing on swimming. I will always love the sport and the friends I made through the never-ending, chlorine-drenched days at the pool. I spent my summers with my best friends at camp GUCI, a magical place that was perhaps one of the most important experiences of my life to date. I met some of my favorite people ever at the Duke TIP summer program, spent an incredible month in Israel and somehow made my way to UF the summer before my senior year for a journalism camp that would turn me into a Gator (though I didn’t know it at the time).
These friendships and experiences will always mean so much to me. Whether we realize it or not, all the people we had or have in our lives – for a fleeting moment or forever – have an impact on who we were, who we are and who we will be.
What do I want to get out of my 20s?
I recently read a great article from Motto, a spinoff from TIME that offers words of wisdom about career and life from experts and professionals. The article itself was timely and well-written, and it made me think about my short-term and long-term goals. Here’s what I envision for my 20s (in no specific order):
- I hope I never stop writing – for my blog, publications and maybe even a book or script.
- I will be a Gator grad! (And maybe a grad student?)
- I hope to travel a lot, but I also hope to find a place I can call home.
- I hope I have a career I love.
- I hope I find love – or at least a dog. Even better: both.
- I hope to avoid a quarter-life crisis.
- Above all, I hope to make the most of every opportunity that comes my way – and to be happy.
What does turning 20 mean to me?
Turning 20 is about who I want to surround myself with, who I am now, what I want to experience and who I want to be in the future.
It’s a lot to think about. I still don’t know all the answers, and I don’t know if I ever will – but the best is yet to come, and I’m so ready.