Yesterday was my nineteenth birthday.
Much of the day spent in class. Interesting of course. But not the place you want to be on a birthday, cooped up in room with a lot of strangers. I came home exhausted. No energy to maintain any kind of celebratory mood. A little homework. A bite to eat. Then lie down, frustrated but unable to stay awake any longer.
The first birthday that I’m away from my family. And I don’t have the energy to ask if any friends on campus want to hang out. Feels lonely here, amongst the clouds in my mind.
I’ve never been good at keeping friends very long. I’ve always lived far away from everyone I know, and then after a while, I start to wonder whether they actually like being around me, or if they just tolerate me. The thought paralyzes me every time I think about saying hello and then I don’t.
It feels like too much effort to try and set up a birthday celebration. It’d be cool to do this with these people. But the scheduling, the coordination, the cooperation of the universe. I’ll think about it later and then it’s the next year.
I like the number nineteen. I feel like the year should be a special one. I feel like I should do something. I should go camping. I should take some day trips. I should travel with friends or family. I should try harder to publish my writing. I should make a blog and keep up with it better this time. Things should go my way. That would be a nice change.
But save my tenth birthday, there’s been no click at each birthday. Nothing changes much. Gradual changes, but it feels the same. I miss the feeling I’d finally achieved last quarter, but when I lost it partway through, confidence is lost too, and the little bubble of competence. Now it feels more like just trying to keep going, to keep my head above water until I can get back to somewhere better.
It’s not to say that yesterday was a horrible day, or even that nothing good happened. I got to talk to my family. I got to eat lunch with interesting people. Friends said happy birthday to me. The magazine that’s published three of my essays in the past responded to my last submission; it looks like it will fit in the August issue. And a professor from my first college, my favorite professor there yet a professor I never ended up actually taking a course from, who I admire very much, wrote a really wonderful Facebook post about me that pretty much made my day. I had a leftover meal from my favorite restaurant that I ate for dinner, I watched some funny YouTube videos, I read a book of my own choosing, instead of a book for school.
I’m glad that I had these little things. I’m glad I have good people around me, even when my mind doesn’t want to believe it. I hope that this year turns out to be a good one. I hope the gradual change is good. I want to know what’s next.