A Bittersweet Birthday

By Mac Pomeroy

Feb. 24 was my last day as a teenager. Now, I haven’t actually considered myself a teenager in a very long time. At least not since I was 18. However, the day after that Monday was my 20th birthday. 

Of course, in my usual anxious and existentialist style, the first thing I thought was that I am one-fourth done with my life. Once I got past that, I looked back on the last decade. 

It isn’t like I can say that I have made it in the last 10 years — I was 10. But at the same time, I seldom see many similarities between the young scared child I was and the determined yet exhausted person I am now.

It’s probably safe to assume that most people reading this column are adults. Your childhood years are behind you, and in front is the rush of a busy life. Maybe you are quite a bit older than me, already deeply settled and progressing forward. 

I have written a lot about the future before. It’s something that I personally think about all the time, probably more than the average person. I’m very much someone who needs to make plans for everything and always have some kind of goal.

Mac Pomeroy pictured at Charlie Staples Bar-B-Que in Youngstown for her birthday dinner. Photo courtesy of Mac Pomeroy

Due to this, I don’t think about the past very often. I do in terms of thinking about a story to tell or even remembering extreme events. However, I never really look back and think about the person I used to be or allow myself to judge how much I’ve grown as an individual.

This isn’t uncommon. 

Most of the people in my life are focused on moving forward and finding the next right step. Sometimes, it’s even said that reflecting on the past will only hold you back. For me, there’s a difference between reflecting on the past and dwelling on it. To dwell on the past or hold on to what once was even after it is gone is harmful. To reflect on the past and just see how much your life has changed is necessary.

When I was 10, I definitely pictured a very different Mac. I won’t go over all the details about what I thought I would be doing; I have prior articles discussing that. There was no preparation at all for who I am now — the tie-dye haired, Dwayne Johnson-obsessed, maybe a bit overly morbid writer. 

And that’s what I appreciate. 

Perhaps some of you are at the same phase in your life as I am. You are still within your first few years of being an adult, and you are learning who you are. Or again, maybe you are older and have figured out your own way. Either way, I doubt any of us are exactly who and where we thought we would be a decade ago, for better or for worse.

It’s almost strange to think that as someone who loves plans so much, I practically skipped all of my own. And that’s OK. I took the path that was best for me.

Regardless of where you thought you would be, life doesn’t follow your plan. It will throw plenty at you, and you have to make choices that may be difficult. There is nothing wrong with looking back at what happened in order to realize how far you truly have come.

I know I have only gone from 10 to 20 in the last decade, but it has been a very chaotic time. I have had to learn to accept things that are extremely hard and make choices that I never wanted to consider. I have had to learn to accept myself the way that I am and live a life that is realistic for me. I am just very blessed to have had my family by my side the whole way, supporting and believing in me.

So happy birthday, me. I hope the others go just as well.

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