Being 20 hasn't been all that easy so far. In fact, it's probably been the rockiest start to a birthday year yet. I've been trying hard to veil my unanswerable questions, through the birthday presents, running and whatever it is that I do. Yes, life is interesting that way. You get moments where you feel elated, on top of the world and feel like you can achieve anything. Yet, you also get moments of uncertainty, where you just question everything around you. The first month or so has been a roller coaster for me, but for some reason it feels like there's been more rapid downhills than the slow ascents. I guess these are just experiences that we all experience as adults...
I did the Color Run this month (along with another fun run)
My best friend left Australia about half a month after I turned 20 to go on exchange in Canada. In all the years that I've known her, I've always been the one who's travelling around while everyone else I know stays at home. I've always been the one who does too many things and goes on too many adventures, but never feels tired, but this has been the first time where someone I'm close to goes away. They say that when you're travelling you also miss out on a lot of milestones- people change, relationships are formed and broken, buildings get knocked down or built- but I still think that experiencing and learning about the world and yourself is more valuable than being home and experiencing these milestones. Now I know how it feels to be the one who's 'stuck' at home and doing the routine things. I have been more stressed than ever with uni assignments (thanks to my inner nerd thinking that I can handle double the standard full-time load of a uni student, and that I can still get a WAM of 76=GPA of 6), so I can't help but be jealous that she gets to experience living in a new culture and have the time to explore the country. Don't get me wrong, I am so so so happy and excited and inspired and proud of everything that she's doing, but it just seems to me like the work-life balance isn't going very well as well for me as it is for her.
The coolest birthday card I've ever received
One of my closest friends also moved to Canada, but for her, it was a closer move from the US to the land of maples, and she was going to be there for the next 3 years (the whole of her undergraduate degree). That got me thinking, I will never be able to experience the college life, and it will be at least another 3 and a half years before I can experience the pros and cons of properly living in a new country. Dreams. I've dreamt of living in Europe, but why did I not think about studying there for me undergraduate degree? I guess adult life is as much about dreams as much as it is about missed opportunities...
A prettily wrapped birthday present
My 80-year-old grandma's Alzheimer's is also exacerbating. We've suspected for a long time that this was imminent, but of course, it still took us by surprise. She can no longer go anywhere by herself, and she has very strange visions. We don't really know what to do with her. We all want to spend as much with her as we can (which is hard for me who lives a 9hr flight away from her), but every time any of us are with her, she always nags us about petty little things like how I shouldn't spend as much time on travelling as I do at the moment. My grandpa even said that when he was driving her around the other day, she got so annoying that he jokingly suggested to drive them into a car crash. That's not a joke to me, but a scary thought.
A huge bouquet of pretty flowers for my birthday
Last but definitely not least, one of my favourite people I've met since starting uni is in hospital. She recently found out that she has lupus. She said she finally understands why every now and then she'll feel cold for no reason, why she'll fluctuate between periods of having lots of energy and periods where she absolutely cannot do anything, why she feels so weak. She told me about a week ago that she's just trying to appreciate the things she has in life, because at a coming-of-age of 20-years-old, it's scary to think that she could possibly die from this disease. I found out 2 days ago that she was in hospital...
I've been talking to her intermittently, but I know I should leave her some quiet time to recover, because her voice sounded very weak. I planned to do the 1 hour drive to her hospital today with flowers, chocolates and tea, but when I called her before I left my house, she said that she was put in intensive care unit. Even though I've never had a lot of experience in visiting people in hospitals (my life and the people around me have had smooth rides so far....), I still know that the ICU isn't somewhere where visitors are allowed... When we were on the phone, I asked her if she was ok to talk, and she replied with: "Well... My heart rate is going up!" This sank my heart.
Getting fancy chocolate for my birthday. If you haven't tried Max Brenner you really should!
Growing up is a strange phenomenon. For the past month or so I've had experiences of jealousy, but have also had so many experiences of appreciation. Although, for some reason we always dwell on the bad more than the goods. Why is it that all the bad things seem to happen to the best people I know? What did I do that makes me deserve all the awesome birthday presents I got? How is it that I am just inherently healthy (being able to go running everyday, eat good foods, never get sick)? These moments make me realise how lucky I am, and that the least I could do is to give back to the community, but every now and then I still feel disillusioned with the action of giving back. Is all my energy and time being wasted? Are they appreciating what I'm giving them? Am I being exploited? My adulthood has been an unending string of questions so far. I hope one day we'll all find answers to our questions relating to life.
Note: This article is directly copied from my blog at https://youngoldtraveller.wordpress.com/2016/10/02/first-month-or-so-of-being-20
Published by Jessie W