Another Year Older.

by Chelsea Carter

In which I look back on being 22. (Yep, it’s one of those. Except I’m wiser and better.)

Georgia O'Keeffe - Red Canna via  EmeraldArtCentre.org

Georgia O’Keeffe – Red Canna via EmeraldArtCentre.org

The day I turned 22 I told someone I liked them with no regard for the consequences, and then I let it play its course. I was arrogant, I was selfish, I was very naive, but I’d grown a pair of balls. A week later I flew to the other side of the world.

What followed was a series of extraordinary events. It was always hot so I learned not to waste my energy. The traffic was insane so I learned to trust my instincts and run. I broke up with someone I deeply cared for in a cowardly and immature manner and regretted it, yet I stuck to what I believed in. I tried ecstasy and instantly loved it. I tried it again and again, six nights in a row. I had the worst come down ever, on an aeroplane, watching Disney’s Hercules. I was a slut and I was a prude. I wasn’t once ashamed. I was always, always, always myself and I made the most amazing friends I could ever have imagined. I felt untouchable.

I flew home a month early, September 18th. On October 18th, the love of my life, the pinnacle of my family, the sweetest, kindest, most loving woman I will ever know, Beryl Mary Carter, my nan, passed away. I didn’t believe it, and I’d go around telling everyone and anyone I could that she’d died. Because then it’d be real, I thought. For two weeks I was empty, incapable of emotion.

I saw the body, and then I understood. It was merely a cocoon, ‘She’ was gone. I slipped two Yorkshire Teabags into her coffin. Her funeral was beyond all expectations, I was deeply sad but incredibly uplifited. I gave a speech with my cousin, and I know it was Nan’s spirit that got us through, that had the church laughing at her quirks, remembering her for the incredible woman she was. It was Bonfire Night. We lit fireworks and drank port. I love her.

I worked some shifts in a bar to keep busy, but I started to say out loud what I really wanted. I want to be a writer, I told anyone that asked. It stopped being a dream and started becoming reality. I interned at a few places, I met people that had done it before me. I knew it was within my reach.

I had a slump, I’d hit a brick wall and nothing was happening, no one was interested. I let go of my pride and posted stuff on here I wouldn’t normally share with anyone. The main thing is, I didn’t give up. Plus, it turns out  most people are actually really nice and supportive (who knew?!)

Tomorrow is my first day at a company that I truly believe in and admire, Vrumi. I’m writing for them, developing social media strategy and simply doing things I love, and that I’ve worked for. It’s also my first actual day as a 23 year old. How fitting is that? I don’t believe that getting ‘older’ means losing it, or being less cool or even having less opportunities. It means gaining knowledge, learning lessons, becoming yourself. I can’t wait to be another year older.