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September 30, 2012

Unfamiliar Road

Most people would agree that in the world of birthdays, 22 is pretty insignificant. After all, you’re already officially an adult, you can already drink, and it’s not even close to “over the hill”. But for a reason I am mulling over in my head, this birthday is, in the words of a true 20-something, “freaking me out.”

Yes, it’s only 22. I can’t call myself old by any means. As my roommate, Diane, would say, I’m “young and poppin’.” But I am still debating in my mind if I am excited or terrified for this birthday. A week ago, I got my first birthday card that told me, “Happy 22nd Birthday!” When reading it, the number shocked me, and before I could stop myself, I blurted, “Holy cow, I’m 22!” (At the time, it wasn’t a happy exclamation.)

For the past week, between classes, homework, tests, and that ever looming senior design project, I forgot about it. Until now… and I think the reason this birthday is so scary to me is because I have no idea where I will be the next one.

I have always been the girl to drag her feet through life, kicking and screaming as inevitable life changes rapidly advance upon me. And now as another one- the quickly approaching college graduation- begins to arrive, I can’t help but feel … well, everything.

I am excited to be done with homework, tests, and staying up until 2 in the morning just trying to get one more thing done. I am sad to be leaving my three caring, beautiful, and talented apartment-mates, who are there through thick and thin and can always give me a smile. I am enthusiastic about finding a real job and embracing the new challenges waiting for me. I am nervous about living truly on my own, potentially in a new city, with new people and places. I am thrilled to be going out into the world, finding a new life once again. And of course, I am terrified of the unknown.

But here it is. My last birthday in college. Just two days until my birthday, another handful before the end of the semester, a few more for next semester, and then… graduation. Another turn in the road, another change in the scenery…another unfamiliar road. Nothing in life stays the same. I’ve learned it over and over, and even wrote about it in my “End of the Teenage Dream” blog a couple years ago. But what I didn’t write about is that there is always someone to hold onto. There are huge, sometimes overwhelming changes in our lives, and always the unknown. But there is always someone. No matter where I am or what I am doing next birthday, I know I will have someone to hold onto, at least in my heart. Austin will be there, Hana will be there, my parents and brother will be there. Austin’s family, my extended family, and my friends will be there. Changes are inevitable. Yes. But there is always someone to hold onto on the unfamiliar road.

Hold on to me as we go

As we roll down this unfamiliar road

And though this wave is stringing us along

Just know you’re not alone

Cause I’m going to make this place your home.

-Phil Phillips, Home