Tomorrow I will wake up and be another year older.

Well, I suppose I’ll really only be another day older, but tomorrow is the day that the year turns over. Tomorrow means twenty trips out of who-knows-how-many around the sun. I know that I’m really not old enough to be nostalgic about birthdays, but last time I embarked on a new decade, I had no concept of what that meant. I was just excited for double digits.

Twenty feels different, though. It’s weird. You’re old enough to vote, but you’re still a year away from really being an adult. It seems like a year when you’re supposed to be getting your life together. Sure, you don’t have to have the whole thing mapped out, but you’re expected to at least have some idea of where you’re going. You’re becoming independent, figuring life out on your own in the big, wide world.

Except sometimes, it doesn’t work like that.

Sometimes things turn upside-down a month before your twentieth birthday. Instead of moving out on your own, you move home. Sometimes, the weekend before your big day, your dad braves ice and snow to come get you and all your stuff, load it into an SUV, and drive you home. And if it’s a rental car, all you can do is sit in the passenger seat and watch Tennessee’s mountains turn into Georgia’s hills and then Florida’s swamps.

Sometimes twenty brings hard goodbyes, even if you know they’re temporary. Sometimes twenty brings with it far more uncertainty than direction. Sometimes it means a new Plan and more emotions than you know what to do with as you try to figure out what’s going to be next.

Tomorrow I turn twenty. Twenty whole trips around the sun, twenty years full of more grace than I could have ever imagined. It feels like a big deal, but maybe it’s not. Maybe twenty isn’t about having it all together. Maybe it’s just another year for discovering new things. Nothing’s unfolded like I expected up till now, so I’m buckling my seatbelt and hanging on.

Here’s to you, twenty, and all your adventures.

Photo by Zenat_El3ain, Creative Commons