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22: The New 21 - And Then Some!

My intimate birthday setup

"It's ya birthday, it's ya birthday! Bad b*tch contest you in first place!" -2 Chainz

Y'all... I am officially 22!

Last week Monday, I celebrated my 22nd birthday. 22 is certainly still the height of my youth, but somehow, I felt a little uneasy about leaving behind being my 21 year-old self. I have to admit, my 21st birthday wasn't celebrated in the way in which I would've liked to celebrate it. I was studying and living abroad in Europe at the time and my birthday fell during our 2 week holiday period, so I ended up celebrating my 21st birthday in Florence, Rome. I know I'm going to sound bratty no matter how I say this, but spending my 21st birthday in Florence was not how I wanted to spend my 21st birthday. In Rome, much like all of Europe, the legal drinking age was 18. The taboo feelings of taking my first legal shot on my 21st birthday just sort of vanished. because I was already aged well past their drinking age. At one point, my friends took me to a bar to celebrate. When we informed the bartender that I was 21, he gave us this "so what" look. Now, I can laugh about it, but at the time it was a bit of a bummer - still, it was definitely a birthday to remember.

Even after having, what felt like, a lack-luster 21st birthday celebration, there was still something so amazing and edgy about being a 21 year-old. The more I think about it, I wasn't sad about leaving behind 21 because there was something special about being 21, because there truly wasn't. I, like many other young people, had consumed liquor well before my 21st birthday. I had also felt the terrible side effects of the over-consumption of liquor, well before being 21, too. Honestly, I've never really been into partying or clubbing, so turning 21 wasn't exciting for that reason either. It was hard to pinpoint why turning 22 was a little nerving, until my Uber driver put things into perspective for me. My uber driver, as those random and amazingly insightful Uber drivers do, had some wise words on why turning 22 was a bit sad for me:

"Your entire life, you've continued to age up until this point, which society told you was the precipice of young adulthood..."

This is exactly why I was afraid of turning 22. I realized that now that I am over that hump of being a 21 year-old - I've seen a lot, I've done a lot, I've learned a lot - I now have to ask myself this very daunting question of 'what's next?'" I have suddenly found myself face to face with the endless possibilities of my future. I went through 4 years of the real world simulation that is college, and now it was my time to actually assess everything that I'd done up until this point, in order to cultivate my rapidly approaching future.

I know. Deep, right? I don't say this to scare you, but to inspire you! At various points in our lives, for whatever reason, we reach different precipices - different turning points. Often times we shy away from,what could be, a full self-evolution. I wonder how many us us have lost out on opportunities to reach our full potential simply because we ran from, instead of toward our precipice.

The older I've gotten, birthday's have become less and less about celebrating another year of life. Birthdays have become more about prayer, thankfulness, and quiet reflection about the year behind me and the year ahead. Birthday's have become more about understanding that it is truly a blessing to gifted with something so precious and rare as another 365 days to make meaningful change. So, at the end of my 21st birthday I came to the conclusion that for me, 22 is not only the new 21, but that turning 22 means WAY more to me than turning 21 ever could have.

1. Unlike age 21, at 22 I am in in full-force life planning mode! I have yet to announce the full details of this on my blog, but in exactly one month (about approx. 5 weeks) I'll be moving to Houston, Texas to start my first full-time career.

2. Unlike at age 21, at 22 I'll be graduating from a top-tier university with two whole (yes, I said two whole) majors!

3. Unlike at age 21, at age 22 I'll be renting my first apartment (hopefully by myself, because living without a roommate has truly spoiled me in every way), buying my first car, and..... adopting my FIRST PUPPY!!! (The latter has yet to be confirmed, but I'm a firm believer in speaking things into existence.)

4. Unlike at age 21, at age 22 I'll be making enough money so that I will no longer be a broke college student. If you are a first-generation college student, you know about how big of a milestone this is!

5. Unlike at age 21, at age 22 I'll have more time. More time to live my life, to sleep, breathe, and most importantly, develop my hobbies and crafts. This one is especially important to me. Black Girl Navigates is a hobby, but it's also my baby. One of my biggest dreams has been to be able to dedicate more time to developing BGN. I truly want to expand and fully incorporate Black Girl Navigates into my daily lifestyle.

6. Unlike at age 21, at age 22 I'll be combing my passions as warrior and advocate for social justice, into a career, in a community that desperately needs help.

For these reasons, and many more undiscovered reasons, I proudly affirm that 22 is the new 21. Everything leading up to age 21 was an up hill battle, but 22 is when we start coasting into our true manifested destiny. I fully claim every good and beautiful thing that 22 has in store for me. I fully embrace every monumental high and low that I will experience at age 22. I wholeheartedly welcome age 22 - a year of tremendous growth.


*Disclaimer: God's good grace brought this blog to life.


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