Twenty-One Candles

I shaved my head when I was twenty-one. I can remember the excitement that ran through my body the moment the clippers made contact and hair fell around me. My hair reached far down my back, and within five minutes, it was gone. I looked out at the faces around me, seeing family members and friends that had attended to show their support. I was able to raise over $2,000 for St. Baldrick’s, making the experience even more special. I left for class, feeling the brisk March air where my hair used to be. It was incredibly liberating.

My friends and I attended the Color Run the same year. At the end of the run and before I knew it, my boyfriend and I were on stage dancing for gift cards. Laughing and throwing our heads back, we shuffled and dipped for the crowd as they cheered. We were young, wild, and free – life was untouchable. Life seemed so untouchable, in fact, that my boyfriend and I decided to elope a few months later. My grandmother suggested a wedding and within two months, we were married while being surrounded by our closest family and friends.

My twenty-first year of life was full of decisions that could have very well ended differently for me, but at twenty-one, I was completely and utterly confident in myself, my decisions, and where life would take me. With youth, especially when discovering the freedom of adulthood, there were no risk that wasn’t worth taking.

This year, my husband and I will have been a couple for a decade. It amazes me that we’ve made it this far, but it also amazes me how different we are from the young kids who willingly danced on stage and had a two month engagement. 2021 will not include any figure similar to Jake Ryan or the same daring spirit that was so easily attained in my early twenties, but it will include something much better. We live, we learn, and we continue to grow.

Cheers to 2021, Happy New Year!

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