Birthdays have always been a strange concept to me. They are simultaneously convenient and inconvenient. For one, they are a great for getting relatives to throw money at you without having to lift a finger. But they are also incredibly anticlimactic. One fundamental fact about you changes while the rest remains. But there is no palpable shift, no clear divide where one age ends and the next begins.
Tomorrow, I will turn 20 years old, and I feel caught up in the bittersweetness of that fact. A farewell to my teenage years in one I’m finding hard to put into words, so I’ll start with those of someone I greatly admire. In a Facebook post titled “A Note from the Desk of a Newborn Adult,” which Lorde published on the eve of her 20th birthday, she says: “All my life I’ve been obsessed with adolescence, drunk on it. Even when I was little, I knew that teenagers sparkled. I knew they knew something children didn’t know, and adults ended up forgetting.”
Tomorrow, I shed my sparkling teenage skin and step into a new decade. One with more freedom, yet more accountability. I will no longer be “just” a teenager. Before long, I will be living in a new city filled with firsts and friends and possibilities. Twenty is a sturdy number, strong enough to hold the lessons of the past while humbly carrying me toward the future. The “twentysomethings” have so many inspiring minds, and joining those ranks makes my dreams feel within reach.
But for today, I’ll take what’s left of 19 and snuggle with it until my time is up.