I don't know about you, but I'm no longer 22.

"We're happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time." - 22 by Taylor Swift

That lyric couldn't have described the 22nd year of my life any better.

Here I am, sitting at my computer on October 3rd, 2016 - the day before my 23rd birthday, and I'm reflecting on everything that has happened over the past year of my life. It wasn't a boring year, that's for sure. I would even argue that my 22nd year was one of the biggest years so far.

But let's break down Taylor's lyric from 22 for a bit.

HAPPY

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Many major events in my life happened this past year that I'm EXTREMELY proud of:

FREE

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Freedom can be interpreted in many ways, and in many ways, I was free from a lot of barriers this year:

  • I am finally free from the grasps of the education system! No more essays, reports, exams, assignments - NOPE. GONE. BYE.
  • I'm free from a relationship that hurt me tremendously
  • Making my own money has given me the freedom to do most of the things I want
  • I confronted uncomfortable situations to become comfortable, if that made any sense

CONFUSED

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Although freedom came with happiness, it also came with fear and confusion.

After being in the education system for more than half my life then suddenly ripped away from it, I was scared. My schedule was no longer defined by what classes I had that day, what events and club meetings I had to attend, or what due dates I had to meet. I couldn't take naps during the day anymore, which was probably the biggest shock to my system (and if you know me personally, I have a whooole Facebook photo album dedicated to photos of me sleeping in random places). Mentally and physically, I was confused AF. 

Career-wise, I was also confused. As graduation rolled around, the question that everyone asked was "so, what are you doing after?". You would think that after 5 years of university, us students would have our lives figured out... right? NOPE. I would say more than half of us still don't know what to do. 

What I learned from this all this confusion is that everything is going to be alright. A wise friend once told me, it's okay not to be okay. Admitting that you don't know everything is freedom itself. Take the pressure off yourself. Relax a little. Live curiously.

LONELY

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I absolutely love my friends to death. They make me so happy and I honestly don't know what I would do without them. I am completely and utterly 99% totally extraverted, meaning that I gain energy from being around people and places. And I couldn't be more thankful for everyone in me life.

But even though that's the case, I still found that I was lonely. This year, I understood what it means to feel lonely in a crowded room. Although everyone is around, you still feel like you're missing something. All this happiness had to be balanced out somehow. The highest highs come with the lowest lows. And unfortunately, I'm still struggling with this.

WHAT NEXT?

As the time slowly counts down to 12am and I am now in the last hour of being 22, I am neutral. I have accepted my 22nd year for what it was: a mix of being happy, free, confused, and lonely in the best way (HAHA ANOTHER TAY SWIFT REFERENCE!) and it's time to move on.

This year, there will be some major changes to my life. Major events, activities, and updates will be coming soon, and I'm so excited to share it with you all. I've started vlogging at the beginning of October to try to put out some more consistent content on my channel so keep an eye out for that soon!

Here's to being 23!

- Winnie Giang