Saying goodbye to my twenties
today at 11:00 am
I turned 30 today. My ma and I have an ongoing joke of reversing our age digits as we grow older, convincing ourselves I looked 12 when I was 21, 25 when she was 52.
I don’t think I can fool anyone into thinking I’m 3 this year.
I have an unspoken countdown in my head the week before my birthday. Reminding myself that this is my last Monday being 29, the final time I’ll have sex in my 20s, the absolute last time I’ll laugh when someone says “pu pu platter,” in my 20s.
My immaturity knows no bounds.
Reflecting on my twenties, I’ve realized how much time I spent disparaging myself. When social media made it worse, I left Facebook. When the men I used to love left me, I deleted the photos that convinced me I was once happy but now was not. When loved ones died, I leaned into my words. The only thing I was never able to rid myself of was the hatred I felt for not accomplishing as much as the people around me.
I haven’t published a book.
I don’t have my dream job.
I’m not “settled.”
Each new year, I look behind me and stare into the face of my past, wondering when the future had decided to leave me behind and change without me. And that’s really it. My life kept changing but my mind was a stubborn weed, rooted deep in cement, perennial, and robustly immune to herbicides.
So I began my 7 days by sifting through my past. I recycled the love notes and other materials I’d turned into keepsakes from my memory box. Papers that once made me feel loved but now only reminded me of the many pasts that were not a part of my present. Believe me, recycling these memories instead of burning them was anticlimactic, but the effect was still pure bliss. I’ve had no impulse to raid the bin for soggy love letters.
Although I’ve looked back much of twenties, I have also watched myself grow, and that’s what I’m most proud of. I learned that pride has no place in my life because whenever I chose it, it was never the right decision. I learned that kindness is earned. That being a good daughter doesn’t require my silence. That empathy is love. True friendship is constant, not conditional.
I’ve learned that I don’t want to be defined by my accomplishments but because I kept going, even when I failed.
Even when it hurt.
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