May 2nd, 2022
I wrote this back in May but never felt quite happy with it, I just recently reread it and found it fitting so I cleaned it up and here it is, 5 months late.
May 2nd has always been my favorite day of the year. I am a lover of all things birthdays - mine, my friends, anyones, I just love having something to celebrate. This year is a big one, I guess, no longer a teen, and one year until I’m legal! But more so, I think this has been a big year of growth for me.
I rang in my 19th birthday with Liv, Nick, and his friend Siggy sitting in Siggy’s dorm room with their fraternity brothers around. (It was a peak! Can only go downhill from here!) I’ve been to a lot of places, met a lot of people, and experienced a lot since that happened. I’ve loved and I’ve lost, I’ve been through some of the best and worst days of my life.
One of my favorite songs by Caamp, By & By, starts with Drivin’ through West Virginia and I’ve seldom been thinner with that chip on my shoulder this past year I’ve got so much older.
Ever since I became a West Virginia girl I have loved that song because of the name drop, but since I took the past year off I felt it resonate in another way. I have a vivid memory of driving with Jules after finishing Corona Arch in Moab. I couldn’t get By & By out of my head and asked her to play it. We sang along as we always do and after the first verse she looked at me and said “I really do feel like this past year we’ve gotten so much older”.
Every year is 365 days, but sometimes it doesn’t feel like that. I feel like the 365 days between 19 and 20 was a lot more impactful than the 365 between 18 and 19. Time is a weird thing. I remember learning that time genuinely does pass faster when you’re older, something about when you turn 5 that is only ⅕ of your life, but when you turn 20 it’s 1/20 of your life, but this year felt slower than most.
Until my 19th year, I had quite the routine, time moved quickly. School from August through June, school volleyball was in the fall, club volleyball started in November, winter break, spring break, my birthday would fall around the end of the school year, and then I would have a summer job from June through August. When 19 came around, I started the summer job as usual, and then everything I knew went out the window.
By & By continues with Lookin’ back over my life spent the most of it tongue tied pullin’ my belt tight it’s just me and the stars tonight.
Suddenly, I worked during the week and traveled every weekend, I wasn’t taking classes, and then I went off to a state I had never been to before with a girl I met 6 months before. I had no concept of time, my life as I knew it became completely unfamiliar.
When there was no timeline of the year, when I was no longer tied down to the pattern of my schedule, I found the uniqueness of each and every day. How there was so much to learn, about myself, and about the world. I didn’t have the path laid out for me anymore, I didn’t have a lot to work with in Utah besides Jules, our surroundings, and myself. It was quite literally just us and the stars.
I feel like I spent a lot of my first 18 years trying to fit in, with what was normal or trendy. But when I took this past year to give into what I actually enjoyed and wanted to be, I found a lot more peace in my life. I found my quirky side, my outdoorsy side, my adventurous side, my outgoing side; parts of me that I never before had the chance to explore.
I’ve learned that if you take the time to take a break from what is expected of you, there is a wonderful creation of who you are bound to be.
Now granted, 19 came with some of the hardest days of my life. Losing friends, a transition into a new life, and being a long way from home, and when I was living these days they seemed like I would never be able to recover. But now that I’m here looking back, I think of it as an accomplishment that I survived all of my darkest times to this point. What comes to mind when I think of 19 isn’t the dark, sad times, but instead what I learned from them and how they made me into who I am now.
It's a lucky time to have your birthday come around, to slow down and think about how this past year has impacted you and influenced who you are going to become. Maybe I won't feel the same when a birthday means a new big number and just a reminder that I'm getting older, but until then, May 2nd will always be one of my favorite days of the year.
Photo by Jules (@yellowsummr / yellowsummr.com)