They say, “When one door closes, another opens…” This is such an appropriate quote for today. Today is my last day as a teen, closing out the second decade of life. Tomorrow, I start a new decade of life–one that frightens me, but excites me at the same time. As my birthday has slowly crept up on me, I have begun to reflect on things in the past. How blessed I am to say that I’ve led a pretty great life so far. Yes, I may have gone through an insanely awkward middle school/first two years of high school phase (Flintstones glasses, middle part, no fashion sense whatsoever, etc…), but other than that all I can think about are the crazy awesome memories and experiences I’ve had. The friends I have made at swim and school are ones that I know will be lifelong friends.
When I think about it, the second decade of life is pretty monumental. Starting at middle school and ending with college, a lot can happen and change. Some of the highlights I experienced were SCAPA, Henry Clay, GSP, Wildcat Swim Meets and starting at state level meets and going to National level meets, starting college at Washington University in St. Louis, boarding my first Disney Cruise and Carnival Cruise, traveling to China, going to Greece with my best friend, going on a medical/dental mission trip to Honduras with the WashU Global Brigades team, going to my first concert to see Taylor Swift in Chicago, taking the DAT to go to Dental School, and much more. All these experiences have shaped me into the person I am today. At the time, every failure that happened to me seemed like such a huge setback, but in hindsight, I am so happy to say that these failures are what made me a better person. Learning from my mistakes has made me into a stronger, more insightful person. And of course, all the successes I had were times of celebration. Without the help of family and friends, I would not be where I am today. I know this saying is so cliche, but it’s so true. They have helped me through the ups AND, more importantly, the downs. I think the biggest thing I can take away from my second decade of life is that “everything WILL be OK.” Things eventually work out for the best. I know it is a hard saying to accept when the times seem hard, but looking back I really can’t remember a time when something did not work out. So, as I slowly close out this decade, I am taking this advice with me so that when things don’t seem to go the way I want, I can look back and say that everything will eventually be OK.
Turning 20 is an exciting period for lots of people, but I have many fears that go along with the excitement. I need to become more independent, I will have more responsibilities, and I will need to conquer some dramatic life changes. I hope I will be able to take it one day at a time and have as successful a third decade of life as my second.