Reflections on 21:
I am sentimental. I get really reflective and to myself, when moments that are big or important start drifting by. Birthdays are weird, and I get weirder with each one of mine that pass. I will be turning 22 this Saturday, September 1, 2012. I needed to put the whole date because I am sentimental.
When I was 15 turning 16, I cried for a long while the night before my birthday. I listened to that song “your only 15 for a moment” and just bawled. I didn’t cry because I thought I was old or I didn’t want to drive. In fact, I have always craved to be older/smarter/wiser/wittier than I am in the present. I cried because it seemed significant, and I could feel it in my bones. I will never be 15 again, all the fun, and failures and friends. They may be here at 16, but it will be different than 15. I cried for the farewell to childhood in a lot of ways. I had a car waiting for me that I was responsible to pay for gas and insurance on. That meant having to get a job which also meant responsibility and learning the things of adulthood. I was also afraid that as I grew up more and more each year I would forget the wonder life held while still young. So the night before I turned 16 I wrote myself a letter to open when I turned 30. I don’t know why I picked 30, it was double my life at the time and seemed appropriate. I don’t exactly remember what was in the letter except little things about everyday life I loved at 15. I most likely wrote about love, begging myself to never give up on it. I was 15 and everything felt so real and poignant. The joys and the pains, I felt it all so fully. I have kept the tradition of writing letters to myself. At 20 I wrote myself a letter to open at 30. Then at 21 I wrote myself a letter to open when I turn 27. I am sentimental.
So now, to debrief the year of 21 for Shelby Kayann Unsicker…
I think it was one of the most special birthdays I have had. A group of precious thoughtful friends set up a table and string lights on the roof where we live. Kristin made me my favorite pie and they had champagne and pie waiting for me when I got home the day of my birthday. I had been dreaming about parties on the roof for a while, so they literally made my dreams come true. I don’t think I could forget that one.
I moved from an apartment I had lived in for a year without windows, to one that had four beautiful, glorious, enchanted windows. I hope I never take those shiny sheets of glass for granted, or the morning light and sunsets I see through them.
I saw the breathtaking acres of Amish country in Indiana. SOOOO WHIMSICAL. Some people dream of beaches and big cities, me, I dream of living with the Amish. There were 15 of us that took a memorable 15 hour road trip to Goshen, Indiana. That is one of my favorite trips ever.
Fall was glorious. So glorious that I put my Christmas tree up before thanksgiving. I got a lot of questionable responses from my “season purist” neighbors. I didn’t mind. I have to say from September to December is my favorite time of year.
I think I learned more about letting go at 21. I learned about contentedness and the hope that is in that.
At 21 I learned about my voice. I have been presented with more opportunities to use my voice and speak my needs than any other year. I think a good word to describe this year would be brave. Not that I’m trying to say I’m brave, but I think I experienced a lot of situations where bravery was required to use my voice, and to my utter surprise, bravery came.
I quit a job I had for two years that proved to be a very difficult one to go to and a difficult one to quit. But I did it.
I got a new job that I’m in love with. I love my job. Thank you Jesus for my job. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!
I saw the Grand Canyon. That was breathtaking. That was a fun road trip. It was also fun sitting on the edge of the canyon watching the sun set with two sweet friends.
My mom found out she had cancer. Then had it removed. And now is going through chemo. I learned more about the strength that I already knew the Lord had given her.
This has been a very good year that has passed by so quickly. I am so grateful for my life. I love the people that fill up my cup and all the love and lessons I learn from them. I do not know that I have ever been this happy or this content in my whole existence. That feels really good. Most days I want to be older/wiser/smarter/wittier/prettier. But at 22 I hope to be 22 years young. To embrace the hope and wonder that 22 will hold. I don’t want to pretend I’m a decade older anymore, because I’m not. God help me to be present this year. Help me to soak and bathe in the good and the gloomy. I want 22 to be a version of 15, a 7 year older version. I want to take what I’ve learned and tear down all the walls I have built that keep me from feeling pain, but also halt my joy and glee at the same time. Oh happy day. I want to weep with the weeping and celebrate with the celebrators.
I think I say 1 about 14,000 times in this text. I hope Im not NarcIssIstIc.
Thank you for reading this rambling. Celebrate, reflect, be sentimental. Its kind of fun to remember.