Yesterday, May 12th, I turned 21. I celebrated by catching up on sleep and watching Monsters Inc. My birthday didn’t feel special, it felt like any other day (except it was Mother’s Day, love you mom!). I spent some time yesterday reflecting on the past year, and came to the conclusion that I didn’t do as much as I hoped. Which made me think, what makes a year worthwhile?
Do you need to win an award? Do you need to start a family, new job, or even new school? Do you need to finish a novel, or build a webpage? What does a person need to do to make a year in his or her life feel accomplished?
I can list things that I have done and haven’t done this past year, but does that mean that my year wasn’t fulfilling? Maybe. I feel that it wasn’t lived to its potential, but that could just be me. Maybe I’m too hard on myself for not reaching the goals that I set out to complete, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t do anything.
I joined the G-Steppas (Geneseo’s Step Team), and now I’m the secretary for next year. I joined the Sociology Club, and became the Academic Affairs Committee representative. I started fleshing out my two in-progress novels. I completed the prerequisite directed study for my senior thesis, and have the ball rolling for that project. I am done with my English minor, and only three classes from finishing up my major. I accomplished a bit in my last year. But I still didn’t do as much as I wanted.
I didn’t finish some of my short stories. I didn’t utilize my webpage, or make it from scratch. I didn’t learn HTML as I hoped, no driver’s license, no finished novel, no internship. Does that mean my year as a 20-year-old was pointless? I don’t think so. I mean, I did yesterday, but not today.
I didn’t do as much as I planned, but that doesn’t mean that it makes me a failure. It doesn’t make me any less than a celebrity signing three contracts for movies, or releasing a new album. It doesn’t make me any less than the person that just graduated with a Ph. D or with a job offer after graduation. It doesn’t make me any less, because I get to go on my own pace. And maybe I wasn’t destined to do anything great at 20, maybe it’ll happen when I’m 21 or 91 if I live until then. I don’t know. But I’m not letting myself feel down about it.
You shouldn’t either. I know there are times when you start comparing yourself to other people and then you just dump on yourself, saying that you didn’t do enough, or that you’re not good enough, or that your year was wasted. But it’s not. Because you survived that year, and you have a new start right in front of you. Make the most of it, and think about the things you did do and remember that those things were part of that year too.
Another year passes, but that just makes you wiser and more motivated for the next one to come.