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  • Lotus Magazine MC

yours truly, michaela

“Do you feel 20?” My roommate asked me, as we smoked on the couch the night before September 11th. A day that most people think is unfortunate to be born on, as I am reminded every time I share my birthday with someone new. I like to think of it as a reminder that good things can happen on bad days.

“Not really, but I think tomorrow I will,” I responded as I thought of all the boxes I wanted to be checked before I entered a new decade; who the person I thought I’d be at 20 is, and how far from that I am. I was caught up in my high expectations, which I attribute to my Virgo stellium. When I approach anything in my life, I have to remind myself that coming into a situation with no expectations will leave one satisfied with any outcome, but when expectations are held, disappointment comes much more freely.

A distinct memory from elementary school is drawing who I thought I’d be at 16. Illustrating myself shopping in the mall, my 6-year-old self’s 10-year plan was to get big boobs and a boyfriend. Little did I know the extent to which I would exceed those two standards. I started my first job at 15, got my license at 16; graduated high school early, started college and my spiritual journey at 17. At 18, I spent time “off the grid,” learning to apply and practice said lessons; and at 19 I signed my first lease. The weekend before I turned 20, I invited everybody I know to my big-girl apartment to celebrate. I’ve put in work to get myself where I am now, so why am I still disappointed? Why do I feel undeserving of being 20 years old?

If I expect so much of myself, I’ll never be satisfied. Of course, it is normal to have a longing for what you don’t have, but turning 20 felt like a disappointment to have not reached my fullest potential. But that’s just it, I have the potential to achieve even my highest goals. I was dreading my 20th birthday because I hadn’t yet checked the aforementioned boxes; ranging from trivial tasks to more existential meditations as I approach a new decade.

My good friend told that when she turned 20, a family member told her you define what it is to be 20 for yourself. Turning 20 was a release from childhood. An accountability for all responsibilities. I’ve been prepared for adulthood in the physical sense; paying bills, moving out. In the emotional sense, I didn’t consider myself adequate to step into this second decade of life. Recognizing the negativity in these expectations presents the opportunity to find the positive. Defining 20 for myself has been defining and prioritizing these goals, seeing them as such rather than unmet expectations, and knowing that they are guiding me on the right path.

Yours Truly,

Michaela Sinead


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