(Birthday reflections will be a series on my blog.)
Where should I begin?
When one thinks of turning nineteen, she probably doesn’t think of much. The age isn’t necessarily considered a milestone and at most sounds a tad bit more mature than eighteen. For some reason, though, I was a little more excited about my birthday this year than I usually am (I’m usually not very excited). I spent the day going to brunch with my friends and roommates, and later attended the State Fair with some of my best friends. I was also able to watch some Harry Potter.
I would say I remember birthdays quite well. I’m sure many others have a knack for this too, but I also remember to somehow personally wish each person. I think, due to this, I am always curious and excited to see who will actually take the time to wish me. In this process, I also am surprised by those who don’t wish me (and these are folks who definitely know when my birthday is). Ultimately, I feel quite guilty if I do not wish someone a Happy Birthday, but I guess I may be alone in this feeling.
I think I’ve definitely learned quite a bit about myself this past year. I truly feel as though I have discovered what makes me “happy” and what I want from myself, my relationships, my friendships, my family, my schooling, my passions, and my career. I am more comfortable sharing my opinions as I have definitely learned lots within and outside of my schooling.
I have met so many people and have made so many wonderful friends. I know I will have the friendships I’ve made for the rest of my life. While I consider practically everyone I know a friend, I know those whom I consider my closest or best friends now will always have my best interests in mind (I will do the same).
I am now an Event Officer on my college’s Student Board and am an At-Large Representative in my University’s student government. I had an interesting internship this summer with County government and I truly felt as though my opinion was valued.
While I’m grateful for all of these positive factors, I must, of course, discuss the negatives. I would say, even during my Senior year of High School, my anxiety heightened quite a bit more than it already had. I believe I am now mainly a “Type A” personality and can be annoyingly specific about how I (and those around me) complete tasks. While this has, obviously, affected my mental health even more than it already was, I try to remind myself to remain calm within my storm of worries. I am often quite hard on myself and this is frequently reflected physically on my body (I suffer from dermatitis and cysts on my scalp due to emotional stress). All good things take time, so I will continue to do what I can to better and maintain my health.
Ultimately, I am incredibly indebted to the positive influences I have for making my life what it is currently. Many do not have the opportunity to see the age of nineteen and I can only hope that I do it justice. My youth and / or age should not have any significance in how much of a difference I make during my time here.
My favorite noun / verb / concept / theme / solution / ideology / choice is “love.” I was always the girl who associated true love with grace and chivalry, red roses, epic romance, moments encompassed with emotion and depth, fairytales, and joy. I looked forward to my marriage as I knew that I would never feel sorrow as long as I had my significant other. We could face mountains of challenges, but the love we have for each other would prompt us to continue climbing.
I have never been inclined to date multiple people. I would rather spend my life with one person. I still struggle to determine whether this mentality was due to the fear of heartbreak, maturity (or the lack of it), insecurities, or all three. I have never had the desire to experience more, in this sense, because I would be perfectly happy to expand my horizons with the same partner.
Do I let go of these expectations?
During the past year or so, I have realized that they may be a tad unrealistic. I haven’t had a steady boyfriend in a couple of years and while I am very open to any opportunity that comes my way, I have learned to depend on myself for the bliss for which I had always searched in someone else. I cannot support someone else without judgment or comparison if I am not confident in my independence. This concept is of vast importance. Many of my friends are incredibly dependent on their boyfriends or girlfriends and admit to being so as well. This dependency increases in the age of social media as we expect immediate responses to every text, tweet, and direct message (though I love social media just as much as the next person). Healthy relationships stem from balance. The ability to spend weeks, or even months, without physically seeing your partner is essential due to a multitude of reasons. This ability has faith at its core. We must have faith in the love we have for one another and for ourselves. If one cannot have this small bit of faith in her relationships, she is invalidating herself as well as those who surround her.
Additionally, we tend to overanalyze every gesture that may seem the least bit flirtatious or romantic. During these occurrences, I try to remind myself to examine them from an unbiased perspective. If he cares, he will show he cares. He is showing me what he thinks I deserve from him and I should not glorify this. With each passing day, I become less of a fan of the beating around the bush tactic. I truly believe that someone who fancies me and feels strongly enough about his feelings will tell me so. If he doesn’t, I then know that our relationship would not have been worth my time or his time.
The best love stories happen naturally. Instead of actively, and perhaps frantically, searching for “the one,” we should focus on developing ourselves. We should take every situation as it comes. We should not let our careers, hobbies, friends, and other priorities go to waste for romances as the right people will be able to grow in their own paths alongside ours.
While I used to be the girl who dreamed of an amazing fairytale and do not do so anymore, I secretly hope someone will prove me incorrectly – someone who contains everything I used to dream of having.
I wouldn’t be where I am without other people. Further, as cliché as it sounds, I wouldn’t be who I am today without every single person I have had the pleasure of meeting. While I appreciate these folks, I feel a disconnect with most of them now after completing my first year in the world of higher education. I do not feel the same excitement I used to feel when seeing friends from my high school or chatting with anyone, really, from my hometown.
This troubles me. Am I ungrateful? Am I selfish? Am I just plain mean? These questions constantly penetrate my mind. So much has occurred in the past nine months. I’ve encountered new people, new situations, new events, and new classes. Everyone else has as well. Whether it was desired or not, we’ve changed. My views regarding the world and my relationships with others have taken a turn.
I am tired of trying to maintain a balance between my life in my hometown and my life in college. They’re separate, unfortunately, and although I can mold them together, I don’t see the appeal in doing so. I do not necessarily know why that is, but I am slowly discovering more and this is okay. If I care enough about someone from my past, I will make sure to keep him or her in the loop with my present (I’d expect the same in return).
Sure. I wouldn’t be who I am today without these people, but this shouldn’t stop me (or anyone else) from progressing and meeting people who wish for positivity and light to envelope my life. Quite frankly, the competitive edge overtook many in my hometown and due to this, I cannot say that everyone had everyone else’s best interests in mind. This was taxing.
I’ll never forget or disregard my roots, but I cannot prevent the steps I will take in letting go. I am incredibly thankful for those I have met and still consider all of them my close friends, but they only know the person I used to be. I am still Nat, but I have grown.
“I do not know how to interact with people of color.”
I am a human before I am an Indian. You do know how to interact with humans…right?
Complaining is okay.
While you complain, remind yourself of your blessings.
I am incredibly blessed to be writing this post while many will never see or touch any type of technology.
I am incredibly blessed to study (as unpleasant as it sounds) for midterms and finals while many will never receive an education.
I am incredibly blessed to have fresh food to eat while many must walk miles every day for one sip of water.
Yes, the issues we face helplessly vary depending on the advancements of the worlds in which we live. No, this reasoning should never excuse the disparities between these worlds.
Complaining is okay if one recognizes her privilege.
You cannot be someone else’s half without making yourself whole.
He shares so much with me. His words flood my heart and my mind all at once. My entire being absorbs his charm.
He stops sharing. We do not talk. The next time I see him, I look into his eyes, searching. Searching for what? I do not know.