My 22nd Year

My 22nd year was, in the truest sense, a life-changing year. My life right now looks almost nothing like my life did last year:

Last year, I was in the midst of high school-like drama. This year, I’m teaching high schoolers. Last year, I was drowning in homework. This year, I’m the one giving it. Last year, I didn’t feel any older. This year, I feel about 100.

In the past year, I traveled half-way around the world. I moved back home and moved 3,000 miles from it. I graduated college. I became a real-live adult. I got my first paycheck over $1000. I partied in Vegas and fell asleep at 8:00PM from exhaustion. I went from being endlessly bored, waking up at 10:00AM regularly, to endlessly stressed, pulling myself out of bed at 5:30AM. I made some new friends, visited some old ones, and moved back in with some cool ones. I’ve cried more times than I can count, over friends, over stress, and over leaving behind an amazing city and four years of (mostly) fun.

But now, I’m entering my 23rd year. I welcomed it with a group of 32 teenagers belting out “Happy Birthday” as they ran into my classroom. I welcomed it with ridiculously large homemade cupcakes with contraband candles burning on top. (I told them not to bring fire to school!) I welcomed it with hand-made cards thanking me for “helping us with problems and being a wonderful teacher.” I welcomed it over beers with new, amazing friends who truly understand how old I feel.

While my 23rd year most likely won’t seem as life-changing on paper as my 22nd, I’m thinking that by my 24th year, I’m going to be an entirely different person, and for today at least, I feel kind of OK with that.