(belated) birthday girl: a year in review & 21 before 22

A few weeks ago I celebrated my twenty first birthday in a lovely low key way. Having just gotten settled in Edmonton and having a lower tolerance for crowds (even when it's a crowd of people I like), I did nothing of particular extravagance, but I was grateful to be able to spend time with my sister, parents, and close friends. I was able to spread the celebration over a week and, I promise you, a birthday week is so much nicer. Not only do you get even more festivities, it also takes some pressure off the day of so you can quit worrying if all you want to do is drink coffee, go for a walk, play Scrabble, eat cheap appetizers, or any other simple thing that bring you joy.

I have been in a very retrospective mood over the last month or so, and of course an annual marker such as a birthday provides a bit of guidance for navigating those thoughts. Twenty was difficult, weird, and totally amazing. It was, without a doubt, one of the most challenging and most rewarding years I've had so far. And while the positive and negative aspects are equally as important and valid, in reflecting on the past year I actively tried to make note of the good things (as it can be so much easier to remember the bad). And there were a lot of wonderful moments and experiences! I thought of writing a list of the top ten (or twenty or thirty) things that have happened, and while I certainly could, I realized that any such list would quickly become repetitive. I realized that most of the enjoyable parts of the past year fall under three general points: 1) creating art, finding myself as a ceramic artist and poet, and sharing that art with others, 2) enjoying, appreciating, and experiencing the art of others (specifically that of my friends, who are incredibly talented artists, but I've had the privilege of seeing & hearing a lot of fantastic art), and 3) spending time with people I love most, creating and fostering friendships, and time and time again being astonished by just how amazing positive relationships can be. There were a lot of other things in between there (like traveling on my own for the first time!) but those three points really sum up what I am grateful for most.

I feel like I'm in a bit of a transitionary period, and as such I really want to think critically about what I want/need, try new things, and push myself to take on tasks that seem challenging or scary. As my birthday approached I knew I wanted to jump on the "2X before 2X+1" blogger bandwagon (I cannot remember/find who first came up with this but let me know if you do. Credit where credit is due!). I have a lot of mixed feelings about "goals," and recognize their positive and negative aspects. Goals can provide direction and hope, but sometimes they're just looming pictures of things we'll never do or people we'll never become. As someone who is crazy and constantly broke, I'm even more hesitant to make lists like these. I mean, when I have to decide between a bus pass and groceries, when am I ever going to be able to afford a tattoo? Does it matter if I take a passenger train when getting out of bed and leaving the apartment is a noble accomplishment on its own? I understand that anything beyond basic survival is a huge privilege, but I still think making goals is worthwhile, and I want the guidance of knowing what I want and the joy of accomplishing those things. With all that being said, I present my 21 before 22 list.

I'm confident I'll be able to accomplish these goals, and that twenty one will be just as wonderfully weird as twenty.

(I can't believe I started this blog when I was 17, thanks for sticking around so long!)

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