It’s been a long time since I’ve been alone with my thoughts. The past three years have been busy, and a lot has changed since the last time I let my hands write about my feelings.
It’s 2022, and yes, I’m turning 22.
I’m quite glad that I was born in the year 2000 because I can easily keep track of my age without having to do Math.
Aside from Math, there are lots of things I don’t exactly like in this world – in my life.
I hate that I have to survive another 22 years of life after crawling my way through battles, trying seasons, and miseries in the past 22 years.
I hate that I don’t have any idea what the next years will be like for me.
I hate that I haven’t been as wise as I am now when I was forced to face problems my younger self was so frightened to deal with.
I hate to think that using the excuse, “I’m too young for this,” won’t be as acceptable as it was years ago.
Time runs fast. One moment I was just a high school student whose only problem was, “Do I have enough savings to go to McDonald’s with my friends after class?”.
Now I pay bills, buy groceries, purchase furniture, pay tuition fees, and check out personal finds.
Am I ungrateful for this? No.
I’m honestly proud that I get to do these things before turning 22, but the privilege of being able to provide for myself and my family didn’t come easy.
When I was younger, I didn’t have the luxury of having more than 1 pair of school (black) shoes, 1 pair of rubber (PE) shoes, and 1 school bag.
My mom would scold me for wanting to have more than 1 piece of anything if I can still make do of what I have.
I never had any signature items. My mom would always take me with her to the public market every Thursday or Saturday to buy “groceries,” and if it’s my lucky day, maybe she’d buy me new stuff like clothes, sandals, toys, or any unnecessary thing I find along our trip in the market.
I slept in the same room and bed with my parents for 20 years because we couldn’t afford to buy a house or even lease an apartment that has two rooms.
I was always excited for Christmas and my birthday because those are the only two occasions when I get to have my OWN money, decide where I want to go, and how I want to spend the funds that I have.
Maybe this is why I love celebrating birthdays.
Maybe this is why I always look forward to the 4th day of March to the point when I’d get all of my work done days before my birthday so I can do anything I want on that special day.
I was always wondering why some people hate celebrating their birthdays when for me, it was the only day in the year when I’m special and my decisions are important.
As years passed by, my preference for celebration has changed.
I used to want to spend my special day with all of the people that I know. Hell, I even requested my parents to bring lunch meals to school for all of my classmates on my birthday when I was in 5th grade.
I used to want to go out with family and friends for a birthday dinner.
Now, I just want to be at peace.
I finally figured out what “being special” really feels like – being at peace with yourself.
I don’t mind spending my next birthdays alone.
I don’t mind not going to a fancy dinner with a lot of people.
I don’t mind not receiving gifts.
I just want to be at peace with myself.
This is a feeling I don’t have the luxury of having for the rest of the year when I have to attend my classes, report to work, write articles, and socialize with people.
I don’t feel at peace with myself even when it’s already past midnight and I’m lying on my bed, trying to rest after a long day of school and work.
I always felt bombarded with my thoughts, haunted by my past, and harassed by my worries
Now, after 22 years, I have finally realized what’s more important than life’s luxuries and people’s validation – it’s my peace.
And it’s the only birthday gift that matters to me this year.