The second quarter of 2021 has begun and with it, so has my birthday month!
I spent the first three months of this year stepping away from much of the digital world to immerse myself in some much-needed quiet time. While my freelance work kept me occupied, the time away from the screen allowed me to reinvest myself in growing my mental and emotional health, introspecting on the many aspects of my life, and fortifying my literary spirits for the year ahead.
The still ongoing pandemic has changed everyone’s lives in many ways and as my 24th birthday approaches, I’ve been spending a good and, possibly unreasonable, chunk of time rethinking a lot of things.
When I was 12 years old and brimming with excitement, not to mention naivety, I made a life plan that by the time I was 24, I’d be a world-renowned published writer running my own literary/publishing company, living in an exotic foreign land with the love of my life and one or two dogs. I’d spend my evenings at the local salsa clubs, going on adventurous road trips with my best friends and spending good quality time with my family.
Suffice to say, that cinematic vision I had for my life didn’t come to fruition. If anything, that entire picture changed bit by bit as I moved the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle around – dreams evolving to match the circumstances rather than in spite of them.
I was confronted by the classic realization that everyone has in their early 20s. That life is not what we painted it to be and some things will always be out of our control.
I don’t look back on my past fantasies with regret or disappointment but a fondness to the innocence and bright optimism I once held. I’m happy to say that one part of the dream did come true during the pandemic, in that I got to spend loads of time with my parents.
I also had the opportunity to challenge myself in terms of what I can achieve with the abundance of time that came with the rolling lockdowns and social distancing protocols. Sure, I haven’t met up with my close friends in over a year and I certainly haven’t had the scandalous and roaring early-20s experience everyone speaks so highly of.
Instead, I take pride in knowing that I’ve spent the past two years building a solid foundation for myself in terms of my changing career aspirations. I’ve worked harder than ever on my writing and my books, and although the journey has been slow and incredibly bumpy, I’ve refused to give up. I made new connections with friends who, at the start of this pandemic, were virtually online strangers but are now my closest confidantes and go-to people for heartwarming talks and laughs.
The me that exists today would not have blossomed had it not been for the challenges of this pandemic. And while I still wish, day by day, that this chapter of our lives would end so a new one can begin, I do not regret the journey that’s brought me here to this point.
This April is an ambitious one and I’m hoping to set several things in motion as I emerge out of self-reflective cocoon and don my cloak of creativity again. I’m excited for the rest of 2021 and I hope, whoever you are reading this, are too.
Spring is coming.
And with it, good things will arrive.