They say transitions are mostly marked by huge events like birthdays, weddings, and graduations. It’s in those moments that we’re forced to look back at the past phase of our lives and reflect on how much it changed us and the next phase of our lives. It makes us recall the decisions we made and those decisions we didn’t.
To me, however, the biggest transition in one’s life happens gradually. Like a mathematical expression, all adding up to make you the very person you are when a big moment comes along.
A birthday for example; when the big day comes, most people—even some who wouldn’t admit it—take a second or two from their day to look back at the past year that passed them by. Those pivotal two seconds of walking down memory lane leads to either a smile or a cringe; depending on how the year went by.
Some of us make resolutions: diet, saving money, being nice; while others simply sigh in contentment. But the best part is the moment we decide whether the next year would look like last year or it would be a brand new one.
December 4, I turned 22.
December 4, I decided that 22 isn’t going to be a 21 two-point-zero—because that would be plainly stupid. We age for a reason, like how words become past tense when the action is done.
Frankly, 21 wasn’t a exactly a good year. It’s the year I hit rock bottom and up until now, I still haven’t bounced back up. It’s probably the year I could say I lost everything at once, and no, I am not exaggerating about it.
It’s that one age of my life when everything became too much. I remember descending the elevator thinking, “This is not how my life was supposed to be.” I also remember that one Saturday night when I needed to remind myself that I was inside the train and I couldn’t cry because that would be plainly melodramatic; and it was that one fateful Wednesday that changed my life probably—it was when I felt all alone.
To be surrounded by a bunch of happy individuals and you’re sitting there wondering why bad things happen to good people. I don’t know how it feels for other people but when you’re 21 and you feel alone, there’s that sinking feeling of fear.
Not knowing what to do is one thing but not knowing where to go is a whole new story.
I lost a friend to circumstances, lost a grandma to death, and lost a family to an aftermath of previously mentioned loss. At once, I lost self-esteem because my dream job kept rejecting me, I lost courage because it gets tiring sometimes; and because of the previously mentioned events, I might have given up somewhere in the story.
When I turned 22, I had that two pivotal seconds of the day when I told myself that no, 22 isn’t going to be a repeat of 21.
Looking back though, some good things happened; rather, new things happened.
In the course of being 21, I was able to forgive and let go of a baggage I have been carrying with me like a rock that pulled me down constantly. Twenty-one was the year I realized the value of now—what you have now, who you have now.
In the course of one year, I learned—the hard way—that sometimes, wrong decisions take you to right places; and that the people you never thought you’d embrace are the ones that’ll keep you together when all is said and done.
In the course of a year, I learned that to gain what is worth having, it’s hell necessary to lose everything else—only, I learned that too late.
The biggest change was finding a brand new story to tell; brand new friends, brand new perspective; a brand new love.
There are those bad moments, surely—moments that made me cry myself to sleep more than once but these aforementioned events are the ones I treasure.
I’m not sure if I’m actually nicer or if I’m sweeter; or if my past year made me better but I’m sure of one thing—22 isn’t going to be a sequel of the previous year.
The previous year I’m talking about still hurts as hell.
It still stings like wounds of a diabetic person—it just won’t heal.
I’m sure they made me tougher, though. As per a popular song, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
Ha. I still remember how I called 21 the year of the damned. There was one freaking time that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger had a different meaning to me: what doesn’t kill you makes you wish it did.
But that was then.
This is now.
I’m my 22-year-old self now, looking back at the past year that happened and I swear, it’s the last time I’m looking back at it.
Innocent (Taylor Swift)