Friday, January 20, 2012

Twenty-What?!

Last month, a clerk asked me how old I was.

Eightee-,” I started and then paused. “Twenty. I mean, twenty.”

Needless to say, even after I reassured her that I really was a duogenarian, the clerk was skeptical.

And so was I. I turn twenty-one today, and just saying that is surreal. I'm still trying to wrap my mind around all that twenty-one means.Twenty-one years has taken me from Ambridge to Sewickley to Versailles to Wilmore. I've wanted to be a teacher, a lawyer, a judge, the first lady, a journalist, a politician, a novelist, a professor, and an editor. I've been to six different schools, and I've held four different jobs.

In twenty-one years, I've been through bad hairstyles and ridiculous outfits. My favorite color changed at least five times. I learned that sparkly jeans are not the pinnacle of high fashion and that neon green corduroy jackets should never be permitted to see the light of day. I got rid of my bangs and my braces. I had my first celebrity crush. I got a cell phone. I read Pride and Prejudice. I started writing poetry. I learned to drive. I went to prom.

In twenty-one years, I've grown taller (well, a little), wiser (or at least I hope I have), and happier (inexplicably so). I'm more able to say what I mean. My dreams are more specific, and my faith is less naive. I know now that I'm more sinful than I ever thought and that God is bigger than I ever thought.


Twenty-one. The years all flowed together when I was in the middle of them, but now as I look back, I see how much has changed. And there's this strange longing when I think about all the scenery and the people that used to define my days and that are now inaccessible.

Twenty-one years is a long time, but it's also not a very long time. Lord-willing, I'll have another sixty to eighty years on earth, and that's way longer than twenty-one.

Someday I'll look back on this girl:


the same way I look back on this girl:
And wonder, How did I go from there all the way to where I am now?

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