22

I turned 22 today. It was a very normal (but nice) day: I taught three classes and in the evening met Isa, who took me to dinner for my birthday.

This was my first birthday that I didn’t spend with my family. Since my birthday always falls within a few days of Thanksgiving, I’ve always been able to spend my day with many gathered relatives–until this year, when I moved far away from them.

In the U.S. people always joke about birthdays, asking, “Do you feel older?”–than you did the day before, of course. Well, I don’t feel any older than I did yesterday, but I sure feel older than I did a year ago, and I don’t feel close to 21 anymore.

When I turned 21, I was, like many Americans, still in school. I was planning for the beyond, but that was still only an idea–or not even that–in my imagination.

Since I graduated, I’ve not only begun living on my own; I’ve moved a continent away from everyone I knew previously. I’ve not only begun working; I’ve started a financially successful and supremely rewarding young professional life. I’ve not only found a social life in a new environment; I’ve made new friends and met a dream of a girlfriend.

And how, to all of the above. This month, especially, it’s hit me that I’m a grown-up in some really good ways. This month, especially, I’ve become a grown-up in some really good ways. I calculated my budget recently and found that I’m already more than covering my costs: If I don’t begin to spend wildly, this month I should save between $500 and $600. And last weekend Isabel moved into my apartment. The arrangement is temporary, only until next month, when we’ll spend a few weeks together in New York for the holidays. (Isa’s hoping to find an apartment with her sister when she returns to Colombia early next year.) Even still, I’m cohabitating. What? Really? I’m still trying to figure out how that–how all of this–happened.

But the questions aren’t as important as the facts. My 22nd year of life was incredible, from senior year of college, through my summer at home, into this new, crazy mature existence in Bogotá.

Here’s hoping and preparing for a great 23rd year, beginning on this Thanksgiving Day, the first I’ll be spending outside the U.S., away from my family and most beloved friends.

Today and every day, I thank you all–my family, beloved friends, and everyone else in my life in any way–for everything you’ve done for and with me this past year and in my life so far. I’ll keep thanking you for all you’ll surely keep doing for me next year and beyond. Thank you.

Enjoy Thanksgiving, wherever and with whomever you’re celebrating.

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