Friday, November 4, 2011

Dear Twenty-Four,

Dear Twenty-Four,

It might've taken me twenty-four years to say this, but...I'm ready for ya.

Sixteen "earned" me a driver's license.
Eighteen "earned" me adulthood.
Twenty-one "earned" me drinking privileges (that I've never yet taken advantage of).
But twenty-four? What have I earned at twenty-four?

I have worked, cried, sought, chased, and damnit, I have earned wisdom. Not the kind where you have it or you don't. Not the kind of wisdom that is only granted to sages and people who have lived over a century. But the kind of wisdom that accumulates with time. Wisdom that, yes, you can acquire at twenty-four, if only a minimal amount. Wisdom that grows exponentially in the bank and can't be withdrawn. The kind that I'll look back on in another twenty-four years and think, "Oh geez, that girl had so much to learn."

But I'm okay with that. Because today, I welcomed twenty-four years of life. And that's enough.

Upon hearing that it was my birthday, my cooperating teacher, Scott, said, "Congratulations." For some reason it sounded odd to me, as if he were congratulating me for birthing a child or running a marathon. But no, he was congratulating me for having a birthday, simply for being alive. And I realized--perhaps for the first time--that simply waking up and showing up and surviving twenty-four years on planet earth might be worth more cheering and celebrating than I've been doing lately.

Because you see, I'm proud of the years I've accumulated. I've earned these years more than I ever "earned" a drivers-license or "earned" adulthood. Those were given. This wisdom was earned. And I'm grateful.