A 21st Birthday Meditation: Sobriety, Adulthood, and Brutal Honesty

Right at this very hour, this very minute, this very second, this very milli-second…I turn the big two-one. Twenty-one. It’s absolutely unfathomable that I am already a legal adult. It seems like my sixteen year-old self posted her first ever account on the blog just yesterday, despite my first article being published in August. Don’t go back and look at it. That…was a mess.

This week in itself has been a mess. Hell, these past few MONTHS have been nothing but train-wrecks in dumpsters. But hey, I’ve learned more than I could ever fathom. First off, I put on a significantly higher amount of weight than I would like to since Thanksgiving. Before, it would have been incredibly easy to shed it off within a few days, but come on–have you ever tried eating incredibly low carb, low fat, and high protein for more than three days? I’ve done that for years, and let me tell you, it’s not fun. Who knows if I’ve lost it by my birthday (I hope I lose at least whatever’s in my jawline)? Truth is, my heart and soul hasn’t been devoted towards losing weight, but more so just to end the quarter somewhat…nicely. Priorities, people. Plus, it’s holiday season, sweater weather everywhere. Might as well be as fluffy as a teddy bear when it’s socially acceptable to wear baggy clothing.

Anyways, I’ve been blogging for quite a while, but I’ve lived even longer. Thus, whatever I’m doing right now on my birthday, whether celebrating with my loved ones, whether celebrating alone, I’m most certain that my determination to make the most out of my experience is far from modest. Not sure if this is exactly how my birthday is going, but I planned on enjoying a killer total body workout and finishing off the midday with some kind of chocolate dish for breakfast, initiating the party and ending the night with a bang through my celebratory potluck that features music, food, friends, alcoholic kombucha, and a unicorn-colored cake that has lit candles on it because we’re not allowed to light candles in our on-campus apartment room. You’ll be able to check it all out on my Instagram. I know for a fact that it’ll be an exciting day.

As you can tell from the title, I don’t plan on drinking regularly after I turn 21, or anytime soon after, really. Obviously, never say never, but my taste-buds avert from the horrid taste of alcohol in any form. The smell is rancid, the stickiness is off-putting, and the after-effects are even more sickening. Not to mention I come from a family of light-weights. Swear on my life–I would probably spend the night red-in-the-face, vomiting in a toilet, and completely sick to my stomach. Anyways, there’s really no other way to articulate my justification: the appeal isn’t present, the cards do not align in my favor, and there isn’t an absolute necessity for alcohol to enter my body on a weekly basis. Whether I drink on my birthday party or not is out of my control–hey, we’re writing for the future here–but I am sure that my glass won’t often be filled with booze.

Turning 21 also entails the true entrance to a grander, more serious, and more intensive road in adulthood. Aside from legally drinking alcohol, you gain more financial independence where you have to maintain credit scores, possibly pay taxes and pay part of rent, and can legally marry in all states without parental consent, visit night clubs, and more. For some reason, now that I am 21 years-old, the thoughts of finding my soulmate, figuring out my exact dream career, understanding the state of my health, deciding what legacy I want to imprint on the planet, and truly recognizing who I am. Now many of these may sound a bit too far in my future, but I like to think to infinity and beyond. When will I ever find my soulmate–will we get married anytime soon? I have absolutely no superstitions of my current love life, so there really is no say in that. What kind of mother would I be, if I were to have kids? Pretty iffy with how I feel about having kids. My patience is thin and I have far too many ambitions ahead of me to settle in such a way. Would I be a bread-winning partner or a stay-at-home wife? DEFINITELY the former. Rather be an entrepreneurial CEO or a worker of another food company? Starting with the second, ending as the first. What truly matters in your life? Your personal happiness, how you apply yourself towards your community, and what blossoms as a result of the energy you decide to spread. Being an adult ultimately entails taking responsibility of your actions, your thoughts, and reacting accordingly.

There’s no reason to obsess over every single detail in your days, I know that now. I won’t care that I only walked half the amount of steps I usually did last week. I’m definitely not going to continue crying over an old crush–someone I thought I could form a serious relationship with–that ghosted me the year before. No one will even remember that I accidentally posted that really cringey dancing video on my Instagram stories a few months ago. But guess what? I partially live in every state of time: the past, the present, and the future. My relationship with each period of time is absolutely convoluted. Ironically, it seems as if I can enter all three stages at the same time, almost similarly to how someone can experience a dream state while undergoing reality.

With the past, I usually enter a state of longing, resentment, or a final understanding. Yeah, I miss the days where I weighed less, had a friend I could turn to every single day, and when life was a little less expensive. Truly, I yearn for the days where life were simpler, at least mentally and emotionally. I despise the mistakes I made, the people I wish I’ve never met, and many times wish that I could erase my history of everything like you can do so on a search engine. Every picture I see evokes some kind of feeling–sometimes I blush in admiration, other times I nearly drive myself to tears or I slip into madness from cringing insanely (Grinch, much?). My usual coping mechanism involved shoving these emotions into a box and sealing it as much as I possibly could for as long as I could contain them until they exploded from within and instigated me to cause a public ruckus. After some time, I recognized that this was not the best reaction to distress. This is where I began to finally accept the meaning of equal distribution.

Do you know what it feels like to have someone confront you and ask you why you don’t follow your own advice? Well, I have, and it’s very uncomfortable. There are countless reasons why some people can decipher this case, but I genuinely believe that most of them are inexplicable or at least stem from issues that are not as easily articulated. For example, for years and years, I addressed how important it is to find balance and moderation in your life, but I never truly understood how to live this way until recently. It’s because I was more comfortable with extremes than with gray area. Humans can naturally gravitate away from practicality given that evolution relies heavily on personal emotions–survival is a whirlwind of a journey to gain as much emotional contentment as possible, whether it be with food, social interaction, power, money, or personal fulfillment.

Emotional instability was also an elephant-in-the-room issue that I acquired in high school. Adapting towards a lifestyle dedicated to academics and creating my future for university took a serious toll on my stress levels, plus the fact that I habituated a hyperactively rigid routine with health and fitness did not help in any way. Deciding whether to spend two hours sitting down at my desk to study versus spending them at the gym doing cardio was a constant battle, and I felt like I lost with both sides.

However, embarking on my journey in university was incredibly rewarding, and I could not have been more delighted to flourish in food science. Deeper into my career, I still suffered from emotional outbreaks with stressful testing periods and general life surprises. Luckily, I’ve been fortunate to possess a solid support system of friends, family, and free counseling services at my university. I’ve also took the past few months for personal introspection, which has resulted in me reacting more rationally without conserving my emotions in another extreme. It’s critical to feel in utmost honesty, but not to necessarily act on them. In my experience, I’ve rarely ever made a good decision that was solely based on emotion or intuition. There’s at least a 10-20% rational reasoning with every decision I make, but it usually averages a minimum of 40%.

Even though it feels like I’ve just started my second quarter of my first year at university, I am already a junior in high school. That means I’ll be a full-time employee somewhere in four years, given that I’ll enroll in a master’s program for two years or so. OH SNAP I’m a grandmother (no seriously–most of my friends are only turning twenty). There’s already questions regarding what kind of career I want, which company I should start with, and ultimately, what kind of imprint I should leave as my legacy. Also growing older begs the more personal questions–am I truly ready to embark on my own? How do I want to raise my kids if I have them? Where do I want to live for the rest of my life? Will I ever find true love?

Most people I know would say that everything is figured out as time passes by. However, I personally find that if I don’t ask myself sooner, I lose the advantage of thinking about more ways to optimize my future in advance. Once again, the particular voice that always thrives on control and fears the uncertainty inclines me to live partially in the future, which is healthy to an extent. But for now, I’m ready to celebrate and I will revel in every minute, every second that passes by before I (possibly) pass out from exhaustion..or a sugar coma…or tipsiness (but 99.99999% certain that this won’t be the case).

Cheers, everybody. Cheers to becoming legal, regardless of the fact that this transition won’t change my daily life at all.


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