2020 has been strange, and right now, incredibly unsettling. I’m seven weeks into quarantine, missing college, and terribly sad that people are suffering and losing their lives, while life feels like it’s on pause.

I turn 21 years old in a few days and have always fantasized about playing blackjack while ordering a cocktail in Vegas. Instead, I’ll travel to and from my kitchen for birthday cake and booze, let’s call it: Quarantine, Birthday Style Baby! But in all seriousness, I’ll celebrate virtually vs. virtually celebrating, seeing faces of friends and family who are all over the world through a zoom call. 

With Junior year coming to an end, I find myself wishing to go back in time, and soak it all in again. College is such an exciting time filled with self-exploration, growth, and challenge. It’s the perfect year because you’re not the oldest in the bunch nor the youngest – you are just right.

My Junior year was and has been incredibly fulfilling as I allowed myself to embrace new opportunities. However, now I face a new challenge: embracing this new reality. And, over these past seven weeks, I’ve worked on growing as I learn how to slow down – a foreign concept to me.

Slowing down is challenging. Yet, these strange times force me to finally focus on embracing myself and my fullest potential, regardless of feeling incredibly halted from what stage I think I “should be” in my life.

So, in slowing down, I’ve begun to become more attuned to myself and my surroundings.

I’m learning to:

  • Savor my flavors
  • Admire the vibrant flowers of spring
  • Stretch
  • Be more patient with people
  • Disconnect from constant communication
  • Breathe (no seriously, like taking a deep f****ing breath)
  • Sleep  
  • Listen, nourish, and focus on my internal needs
  • Give myself permission to release emotions 
  • Become my own friend 

This pandemic is a shared challenge across the globe, with different levels of severity. It is teaching us all how precious and valuable life and time is. One is not alone in their frustrations, heartache, and cabin fever. This time exposes us to the rawness of our lives. 

And right now, it’s teaching me the pureness in slowing down… because what’s the rush anyway?

Whether I’m ready or not, I turn 21 next week, and I have to come to terms with that.

For me, 21 symbolizes personal freedom, followed by a newfound sense of adulthood that focuses on giving back, and recognizes the importance of living my life with more awareness and accountability.

Oh, 2020, what else do you have in store for everyone? The uncertainty is… daunting. You are unpredictable, but while it’s been so, so painful, lessons have been learned. Okay, but seriously, if I slow down, will you please speed up?

May is mental health awareness month, so be sure to take care of you and yours.