For me, my twenty-first birthday was nice but probably not the most memorable of yearly celebrations. This was the first birthday I spent apart from my family, and it unfortunately fell on the day I have classes from 9:30 in the morning to 8:15 at night. What I will remember, though?
How much my last months of being 20 taught me about living in the moment - and the 21 reasons I've come to love doing just that.
1. You'll go on random afternoon walks that turn into deer sightings.
2. You'll go to bed way too late for a school night, but fall asleep smiling from the deep conversations with friends.
3. You'll forget to bring a blanket to watch the sun set above the ocean and end up covered in sand...but follow Taylor Swift's lead and "Shake it Off." (Literally). (Sorry T-Swift haters).
4. You'll spend an extra fifteen minutes in bed before class every day because the momentary quiet is worth the subsequent rush.
5. You'll say hi to the person you used to know so well and don't anymore...and be OK with how things ended.
6. You'll sign up Weight Lifting even though everyone laughs when you share your schedule.
7. You'll keep posing for a photo even as the phone propped up to take it does a nosedive off the picnic table.
8. You'll get a 60% on the first quiz in your scariest class this semester and not even shed a tear (a huge feat for this overachiever!).
9. You'll refuse to apologize for your dietary needs, preferences or quirks...and attract people who respect that.
10. You'll accept that relationships you make today may not last forever...but invest in them anyway.
11. You'll walk into the gym intending to read Jane Eyre for your Women's Writers class...and end up rocking out to Pandora and writing this post instead. (Is "birthday YOLO" a thing?)
12. You'll worry less about meal prep and embrace figuring out meals as they come around.
13. You'll realize that college is more than just a planner filled with items to check off.
14. You'll have loud, hilarious and personal conversations with your roommates without worrying if the apartment windows are open or not.
15. You'll buy a special "White Chocolate Strawberry Cashew Butter" from Whole Foods that's probably overpriced, and not even worry about rationing your servings.
16. You'll appreciate the feeling of dozens of grasshoppers jumping over your shoes - even if it scares the dog.
17. You'll spend time talking to teachers, friends and classmates in between classes instead of immediately running back to your apartment to do homework.
18. You'll take a moment to smile in the mirror and admire your baby biceps.
19. You'll spend eight hours celebrating your birthday early by lying in bed, watching YouTube videos, going out to Chipotle and "hammocking" (for the first time ever) with friends on Labor Day.
20. You'll realize that your 21st birthday may not have been perfect or typical, but that - with your friends, family and teachers who call your name after class just to say, "Awesome job!" - you don't have much to complain about.
21. You'll write blog posts that may be a little deeper or more revealing than you're initially comfortable with, but click "publish" anyway.
Unlike any candles on a birthday cake, these are 21 lessons, memories and reflections that will never be blown away.
*Also found at Wow Me Wednesday, RunningwithSpoons, Flaunt it Friday, Link Party Palooza, RunningwithSpoons and BestoftheBlogosphere!*
How did you (or do you want to) celebrate your 21st birthday? Do you try to live in the moment? Comment below!