Things I Was Going to do Before I Turned 20 (And Why It’s Probably Okay I Didn’t)

Tomorrow is a very special and important day. Not only is a day of drunken debauchery for the large majority of people, it’s a day to wear green, generally be obnoxious, and celebrate my birth. Because yes, internet people, I was born on the one and only Saint Patrick’s Day (which, yes, is ALWAYS on March 17th).

Anyway, I was thinking about the fact that I’m going to be 20 years old tomorrow and I realized how many things I told myself I would have done by now that still haven’t been accomplished. You see, I always saw adulthood as the vague nebulous thing way out in the distance that would never actually touch me. But it’s rapidly approaching (really, I guess it’s already here) and sometimes I don’t know if I’m ready. And then I think about the goals that a 12 year old me set up and think maybe it’s a GOOD thing we don’t accomplish all the things our younger selves thought we should.

To illustrate my point, here is a list of things that 12-year-old me is probably pissed I haven’t done and the things I have to say to her about it.

1) Before I’ve Grown Up, I’m Going to Publish My First Novel
Hi, 12-year-old Amanda. I know you said we’d publish that book by now, but think about the state it was in back then. Think about the state it will STILL be in when you’re 19 going on 20. Yes, it would be amazing if you were already published. But that book would be an embarrassment from which you’d always want to hide. The book’s not published because the book’s not ready. And neither is the one you’ll start writing after that, or after that. But we’ll get there. I promise. 20 isn’t as old as it used to seem. Really.

2) Before I’ve Grown Up, I’m Going To Fall In Love
Yeah. About that. Kudos to you, kid. You tried. But if 12 was a young age for falling in love, 20 isn’t much better. Love isn’t a goal you can set. Sometimes, you’re going to wonder if it’s real at all. And maybe that dark and cynical side you’ll develop around the age of sixteen is right and it isn’t. But a small part of you is never going to give up, and that’s a good thing. Just stop making it a defining goal about yourself, okay? Because boys sucked before puberty and I promise they’re going to keep sucking after. But not all of them. Get a hobby and for heaven’s sake, PUT DOWN THE ROM-COMS!

3) When I Grow Up I’m Going to Work in a Book Store
I have bad news, 12-year-old me. Borders goes out of business. Your dream job literally ceases existence. I’d tell you about the Kindle, but I don’t want to scare you. You still write your first drafts by hand and I’m proud of you. Don’t give up. Don’t ever stop doing that–it’s more personal that way. But as for working at the bookstore, well… part time jobs suck, but yours, while not glorious, isn’t that bad. You work with your best friend Erin (she’s new and she’s great–you’ll love her just as much as you love Nicki). You did interview at Books A Million, but it was no Borders. And that’s okay. You’re going to teach creative writing one day, and that’ll be great.

4) When I Grow Up, I’m Going to Drive a Convertible Robin’s Egg Blue Volkswagen
Maybe you can figure this one out for yourself, but as it turns out, cars are expensive. Your parents buy you a great old maroon Honda Accord that’s the same age as you. You’ll name it The Gaga Mobile because you take your friends to Prom in it and Kaitie is obsessed with Lady Gaga (you’ll like Kaitie–she’s a lot of fun and will teach you to lighten up a little). As for Lady Gaga, you’re just going to have to wait and see. I can’t explain that one. Anyway, your car is great. Maybe that convertible will come around some day, but for now, Gaga gets you from point A to point B.

5) When I Grow Up, Talking to People Won’t Scare Me Anymore
I know you always hoped you’d just grow out of this one. But you probably knew it wasn’t going to be that easy. You DO still have to rehearse your order at restaurants and you DO still feel a little sick at the thought of calling people on the phone. You don’t magically acquire the ability to flirt, either. But the good news is, you have amazing friends who love you for exactly who you are, awkwardness and all. I’m not going to tell you it will always be easy and that you won’t get lonely at times, but they WILL be there to pick you back up when you fall. I think we’re always going to be just a little bit awkward, and turn red whenever people we aren’t used to talk to us, but I think that’s just the way we am. And that’s really, genuinely okay. Don’t let anyone tell you any differently and don’t keep telling yourself that, either.

So there it is, my little letter to my 12 year old self. I’ve definitely come a long way since then, but 20 is still young and I’m sure, come seven years from now I’ll be telling myself all sorts of things I can’t even imagine right now. Tomorrow is my birthday, and I’ll be spending it in London with four of my wonderful friends. It’s hard to believe we only just met in college, and I’m sure we’ve got plenty of adventures in store. Basically, this is a post to remind me and everyone else that life is unexpected, but it’s also beautiful and wonderful, even if it doesn’t always seem that way.

Happy day before Saint Patrick’s Day, internet people! Hope it’s as great as mine’s going to be!


2 thoughts on “Things I Was Going to do Before I Turned 20 (And Why It’s Probably Okay I Didn’t)

  1. No mention of lil ol' me? I'm hurt…

    😛 Happy birthday, dear! A birthday in LONDON, you lucky dog you!

  2. I knew I was going to miss someone if I started doing that! I didn't mention Sean, either, come to think of it.

    Thanks! It was a great one. Lots of food ha ha.

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