I really did not think it through when I decided to spend my 21st birthday alone. It was a milestone age I’ve been low-key looking forward to hit and one impulsive decision after another led me to waking up in a dimly-lit hostel room because the lamp was broken and my room was located in the basement.
There are so many instances this year that really left me wondering if I took a right turn or if I just completely swerved off the highway without realizing it until it was too late and I was low on gas. I never thought I would dread spending my birthday alone. After all, I’ve always been (and probably will continue being) sort of a lone ranger. I tried to rationalize my frightened feelings by blaming it on my fatigue, but I have never felt so afraid of spending one day alone.
I spent my first nineteen years of life crafting safety nets and taking pathways that are pre-approved by people I look up to: parents, teachers, advisors, and friends. I would only take on options I knew I would surely benefit from. Risk did not exist in my vocabulary. It was only in 2016 though that I started taking leaps of faith and applied for opportunities I knew very well I was not fully prepared for but was committed to working towards. I figured that if I put in the effort, I’d at least get somewhere.
And I often did. Not that I’d take credit for all of my “success”, though. What I’ve learned along the way is that if you put enough effort in, the universe will help you out as well.
Because sometimes you just don’t have the answers to the uncertainties in life and the instances when you do are going extinct. It used to bother me a lot but as I kept putting one foot in front of the other, something pleasant appeared in the distance.
So the day when I woke up alone in a dimly-lit hostel room on my birthday? I returned to the same room that evening and was trying to figure out how to make everything work (like how do I even find my toothbrush without turning on my phone’s flash?) when the hostel management came in and apologized for not being able to fix the lamp despite my request for it that morning, and they upgraded me to a private room. As for the loneliness part? A friend I met two years ago just happens to work in the area and was free for dinner.
Am I lucky? Arguably. I’ve only started to consider using that word in the past year, right when I decided to take those leaps of faith. Was I lucky before that? Perhaps less so. Then again, I wasn’t taking as many risks.
It’s a comforting thought to know that you are never alone in the process of pursuit. As cheesy as it sounds, the world really does conspire to help you when you’ve set your mind on something.
I’m stepping into my early days of Twenty-One with a little more faith in the universe. Hopefully, you won’t let me down.
Becky is listening to: Auli’i Cravalho – How Far I’ll Go