dear 22,

I turn 22 today. I can already tell it’s going to be a year of in-betweens. Definitely adult in age, but not totally expected to be doing it “all on my own” yet. So many qualities about myself seem to be set in stone, and yet, who knows how I could change as a tumultuous human on this earth, even in the next 12 months? I’m looking forward to the intense growth I undergo in this new year of life.

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Dear 22,

It me. Tay Tay.

I’m writing because I can feel that this year is going to be a big one. I almost feel like it’s been a big year already.

I feel weird. I feel really old. And really young. Inside, I feel like I could be both 22 and 99. I have tons of life experience and none at the same time. I’ve been here on Earth for over two decades, and I’ll be here for so many more. I’ve had two major canyons in life already, so I can only assume (and armor myself against) the canyons to come.

With all of that mentioned, this is what I hope you gift me, Year 22.

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I hope to continue to grow more and more assured of the qualities that make “me” me. It all started this year with reconciling myself to and later embracing my judgment. The process will likely continue with letting go of other perceived weaknesses. I want to find new ways of using my introversion for good, even if society still praises those who are outgoing.

22, I hope you’re a year of reclamation. I want to reclaim the assurance that the people in my life care about me, even if self-doubt plagues everything.

I want to laugh without fear of the future, and the fear that I’ll be loved less if I’m just a little more vocal about my faith. I want to cast off fear in general. Fear of instability; fear of being forgettable; fear of being behind the wheel of a car.

On a grand scale, I want to be braver. I want to attract goodness and authenticity. I want to be more of a leader and learn more about asking for what I want. I want to be that sassy person i dream of being—the one who isn’t afraid to snap back in self-defense and tell kids off when they bad-mouth their parents at the grocery store.

I hope 22 is a year of continuing post-traumatic healing.

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I hope I can learn more about the taxes and 401ks and retirement funds I should have been learning about when I was trying (and failing) to learn pre-calculus. I hope you’re a year of more puppies and more babies. Specifically, more cuddles with puppies and babies. Gimme ALL the giggles and tail-wags.

I hope that at 22 I can encourage more truth-telling through vulnerability and lead the climb over the walls that keep others from being so. Moreover, I hope I can easily release all of that when it becomes clear that I won’t be able to break down those walls.

I truly want to find more community who reflect my kind-of-advanced emotional maturity and if that doesn’t happen, I hope that I find more friends who respect it and value my attempts to enrich their lives.

I want to feel appreciated, for my guidance, for my caring, for my loveliness, for my dancing skills.

22, I hope you’re a year of reckless, rapid growth. In all directions. I really do hope you place pressure on me—pressure so intense that I have no choice but to become something more precious.

~Taylor