Reflections on 21

And the world’s got me dizzy again / You think after 22 years I’d be used to the spin / And it only feels worse when I stay in one place / So I’m always pacing around and walking away

–  Bright Eyes, “Land Locked Blues”

Today was my 22nd birthday. I’m blessed to have this life and I’m incredibly grateful for all the affection I received today. From my parents, to my family, who were kind enough to ferry me across the city so I would not spend the day without familiar company, to the friends who wished me – I’m just very grateful for all of it. This is my third consecutive birthday in Bengaluru, the city in which I’ve spent the most amount of time in my life. It’s also my first birthday in three years without a guest appearance being made by Taco Bell.

I’m heading into a new year of my life today, so I thought it was apt to look at some reflections on my 21st year, and to write some thoughts down for the things I want to ensure I begin to imbibe in the upcoming year.

This past one year has been incredibly tumultuous for me. I achieved a childhood dream I had held onto for a while, but then went on to commit a mistake I didn’t believe I would ever commit – and had to rebuild from there. It’s been a difficult journey since.

The past two months gave me the opportunity to think about what I want year 22 to look like. A while ago on this blog, I spoke about how I didn’t like waiting around for a special day to reflect and hit a reset button, or to start something that I was interested in starting in. At the same time, however, I’m incredibly cognizant of the kind of heightened significance I attach to maybe doing these reflective things on particular days of the year. My birthday is one of them. It’s nice to hit pause and genuinely appreciate everything the world gave me last year, everything I am today, and everything I am able to enjoy.

So what do I want from year 22?

I want to be more mindful of everything I do, and everything that happens around me. I want to wake up each day feeling nothing but gratitude. Not stressed, or worried about exams, or upcoming deadlines – just immense gratitude in my heart for everything. I’d like to make gratitude and mindfulness the two central pillars around which I live my life. I’m not an ungrateful person, but I’d like to increase how much I prioritize looking for the thing to be grateful for. I’d like for it to be second-nature to me, so while I experience sways in emotions and in circumstances, I’m always centered around this.

The last call I made tonight was to someone extremely important to me. The last time we had met each other in person, I was only 16 years old. He couldn’t believe I was 22, and to be fair, I can’t quite believe it either. I’ll grow into it in a week.

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