On December 6, 2017, I officially entered my Roaring 20’s and bid farewell to my teen years. 💃🏻

I always joke and say “gosh, 20? that is SO old…” and then I realize how ridiculous I sound saying that. 20 isn’t even old at all. Yet, saying goodbye to my teen years was a bittersweet, anticlimactic farewell. Aside from the bitter cold that the month of December brings, crossing the threshold from teenagehood to adulthood meant embracing new responsibilities that I’m not necessarily ready for. Gone are the days where I can use my youth as an excuse – although I’m still young, it’s not quite the same anymore. Yet, I do cherish every part of turning a year older – I don’t have to like every single thing about turning 20 for me to appreciate another year of life and reflect upon the experiences that await me. 

4 months after getting my G2, I finally got the opportunity to drive on my own. With my parents out of the country, and enjoying their vacation on the other side of the world (They went to the Philippines, Singapore, and Malaysia! I’m absolutely jealous and wish I could’ve come, but alas my responsibilities as a student had to come first, and there’s plenty of time for me to explore those places on my own! Now I know where I got my wanderlust from), I decided it would be the perfect time for me to put my driving skills to the test and enjoy my newfound freedom while it lasts.

I thought it was fitting that I started driving on my own roughly around the same time that I turned 20. First of all, things didn’t go exactly right the day I started driving. The very first day, I couldn’t get the car to start (ahem, Mercury Retrograde, amirite?). Taking it as an omen that I shouldn’t be doing it, my brother helped me and that’s all it took to get the engine running. My excitement was short-lived (probably lasted less than 5 mins.), as I scratched the car backing out of my very narrow driveway. Just as I was about to give up, my brother wouldn’t let me go back inside the house until I could confidently reverse out of the driveway. He sat down, patiently taught me the proper techniques, and encouraged me to go out there on my own. The next day, he asked me to pick him up from his friend’s house in an attempt to get me out of my shell. In hindsight, it went well – I’m nowhere near perfect but gradually I challenged myself a little more each day. I drove at night, in the morning, in the afternoon from Glendon during rush hour, in the snow, parked in public lots (my biggest fear), got gas on my own (for some reason the pressure of other drivers judging me for being a newbie almost stopped me from doing it but it didn’t), and the list goes on…

What does driving on my own have to do with turning 20? Aside from the fact that they are both terrifying – every single time I drove on my own, I was constantly reminded of the importance of humility. I don’t take failure lightly, and doing something right just to mess it up all over again is very humbling indeed. I know that there is a lot of pressure to “be independent, don’t rely on others, you can only rely on yourself”. While I appreciate and completely resonate with the sentiment, what’s wrong with admitting that you can’t do everything on your own? Sometimes, you just need someone to help you out, and there’s no shame in that. Once we acknowledge that we do need others and that we don’t know everything, that’s when real wisdom shines through.

It also taught me to let go of perfectionism. To most people, their 20’s is their first real taste of adulthood. “Adulting” requires a lot of trial-and-error – in many cases, making mistakes is necessary for growth and learning important lessons. Striving for perfectionism is futile and to be honest, it’s quite boring. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t do our best and strive to be better each day, it just means that we shouldn’t beat ourselves up for not being “perfect”.

Lastly, it taught me to enjoy the journey. Living in the moment isn’t easy for most people, including me. I’m constantly thinking of the past and the future, leaving little room for me to sit back, breathe and take in all of my surroundings. But being behind the wheel never fails to ground me, especially when doing it with no one else in the car but me. All of my senses are heightened and I realize that this driving thing may not be so bad after all. It’s only when I think about it before hopping in the car and when I overthink every single thing that I could’ve done better after putting the car in park that gives me the most butterflies – not in a “I saw my crush” sort of butterflies, more like I’m nauseous and all I wanna do is lay in bed…

I’m thankful to have learned these things while still on the cusp of adolescence and adulthood, as they are what I believe to be the key ingredients to contentment. Though my Roaring 20’s has the potential to be wild and daring, it’s also a time of many firsts, lasts, responsibilities, and new memories to be created. That being said, I’m still very young (and fun?) so I may be completely wrong. But that’s totally fine by me – I don’t have all the answers, but I think that’s the whole point of your 20’s. Here’s hoping that when I look back, I can say I made the most of it.

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