I have only been twenty for the last two months and I already hate it.
I am seated at a desk somewhere in cloudy Nakuru, staring outside the window and trying to find the right words to express how disturbed I am at the sudden turn of events.
Last night, my best friend of 16 years phoned to reminisce. She’s older by a year or two and growing up, she was my constant; ever reliable, ever dependable. Since we left for uni, she lives about 200 kilometres away and although that doesn’t seem like quite the distance, logistically – between her schedule and mine – it is an entire nightmare.
“Remember how, you weren’t allowed to drink tea like the rest of us so your mum had to prepare porridge for you and you’d carry it to school?”
“Oh man! How do you even remember that? How old was I, like four?”
“Two and a half. You started early, remember?”
I remember a brown thermos and me in the passenger’s seat of an old Toyota Corolla. I remember pigtails and a large playground.
I remember freedom. I remember a lack of consciousness.
The one thing I hate about being an adult is the minor yet intricate sense of consciousness.
Suddenly I am conscious of time. I am aware of the bountifulness of it and the lack of it all the same. I am aware of death.
I am conscious of choices. I am aware of the consequence – the result of choice and the beginning of it as well. I am aware of the fact that there is no plan B, if I am going down it’s now or never.
I could argue that technically I have been an adult for a little over two years, but I am starting to believe you really get in the thick of it in your twenties. Suddenly I am tasked with responsibilities that are not only unprecedented but that had never been part of my reality at all. See that’s the problem, your reality changes as you continue to age and the worst part is there is no warning sign; one day you wake up and things are just that – different.
In retrospect, I am ashamed at how little I valued the bubble of my childhood; the constant safety net that I took for granted. Now I am on my own, no cloud covers, no umbrella, just the hot sun on my face.
I am moving towns in about three weeks, well, actually, I am moving from town to city in about three weeks and as excited as everyone else around me is, I can’t help but be fearful.
Where am I going to stay? Who will my neighbours be? I have to find a new hairdresser too, right?
I have to think about anything and literally, everything and no one prepares you for this, they tell you to venture out into the world and find your place, but where’s the starting point?
My father thinks I am on the right track, at least I have a plan, but having a plan isn’t the hardest part. It’s execution.
Execution. What an oxymoron – the carrying out of a course of action and the carrying out of a death sentence.
I am sticking to the plan so far. I don’t know what bumps I will meet along the way and I am not sure I will survive it either. My heart is fragile but my spirit is determined so maybe that counts for something.
My twentieth year so far is one big mess, I have been told it only gets worse, but here’s to anxiety and sunshine in one big bowl called ‘life’. Paddle through, child.
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Letter To My 20 Year Old Self