Feeling Twenty-Two

The mountains seemed to sing with me as I drove on the open road. The curve of the highway danced between the hills and the bend of the river. Still in recovery, I set out to breathe new life as the promise of spring had come. I watched as the sun breathed fresh air into the bloom of the flowers. After three months of being grounded to one place, I could embrace the wind rustling through my hair as I drove with the window down to new beginnings.

New beginnings have different forms. Some subtly reveal themselves, while others come in a flash of colorful light. After weeks of being in recovery from surgery, I finally met a new season of life. The day the season shifted to spring, I met the eyes of someone I wrote letters to for two months. And suddenly I did not feel so alone. I started to see life in brighter forms and felt less limited. I did not have to figure out how to climb the mountain alone, because I suddenly understood that I could trust the help of others to reach the top.

With the ocean humming in the background and the sun warming my bones, I listened to the sweet harmonies of my dearest friends sing to me as I turned twenty-two. A deep sense of peace came over me as I rejoiced in being alive and knowing I still have more to do on this earth. Birthdays always remind me to not take advantage of the gift of life. I am thankful for the joy and struggle of being alive. But being truly alive takes work. It takes perseverance, knowledge, and understanding that we do not walk this earth alone. We need the community of one another to create a meaningful life. With spring showing up in a vibrance of colors, I was reminded what it means to really live.

Roaming trails with the company of trees and wildflowers, I welcomed the new season of life. After years of feeling suppressed and misunderstood, I could breathe for the first time. Remembering what it felt like to be myself and among company that sees me for me. I am trusting, respecting, and loving the people around me better as I realize more of what I had tucked away of myself. I realized as I drove on the open road what I was missing in life by not truly letting my colors bloom. After graduating, I started to navigate away from negativity, and those who cut at me to feel better about themselves. I began to invest in those who breathed life into me and made me a better me.

The slough of appointments in the past months have taken a toll on my spirit, but the promise of spring has bloomed in full color that has sparked me back to life. I raise my arms out in the spirit of adventure, the promise of new life, and the welcoming of the pieces of me that have long since been tucked away. Twenty-one was full of lessons, heartaches, and new seasons. As I turn twenty-two, I begin filling my days with the sense of being alive in company that lets me be exactly who I am. A spirited, sassy, and loving human being who dearly loves expressing herself in words and action.

Thank you to those who have made my twenty-two years of life meaningful. For those who fought for me when I could not fight for myself. For those who loved me when I had trouble loving myself. For those who adventured with me in the dark of night and in the dawn of a new day. Thank you for the parents, aunties and uncles, mentors, friends, and strangers who have shaped me to be a better me. To help me realize who I am at the core and who have sparked light back in me when health problems tried to stifle my flame.

I walk into a new year of life stronger than I was a year ago. Stronger in who I am, what I want to be, and what I want to do. Spring has brought a spark of wonders and I am excited for what life brings next. With arms open, I walk forward into a new year, a new understanding of myself, and new friendships who love me for just being me. And how beautiful life can be when we open our eyes to the opportunity of new adventure, the promise of a better day, and the love of one another.


Bethany Jane




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