This morning when I walked out of my room, I almost ran into Darth Vader.
Well, not the actual Darth Vader (although I would be pretty psyched and a twinge creeped out to find James Earl Jones wandering around my dorm room). It was a piñata head dangling from my doorway, framed in white streamers.
Maybe I should mention that it’s my birthday.
Which prompts the question: what have I learned from the 20 years I’ve spent on earth?
Well, the first few years, I mostly spent mastering the fine arts of talking, walking, feeding myself, etc. I am proud to say that my efforts in these areas were successful. For the most part.
In the third book in the “Anne of Green Gables” series, Anne turns 20 and remarks, “Miss Stacy told me that when I was 20, my character would be formed for worse or for better.”
As I’m sitting here, wearing Star Wars pajama pants, surrounded by superhero posters, Hello Kitty streamers dangling from the ceiling, a Wonder Woman cape hanging from my door, facing our dartboard, which has a place of honor across from our Xbox and GameCube, attached to our TV, which is currently playing “Lilo and Stitch,” I have to wonder…really, how much have I grown?
Frankly, this isn’t exactly how I imagined life would be at 20.
But is it a bad thing? I don’t think so.
When you’re 20, no one really expects you to have your future figured out (although they keep asking you about it) or even be able to keep your clothes off the floor (except your parents…they never lose hope). As I’m madly scribbling papers and desperately skimming test materials, I check my email for responses to my numerous summer internship applications and play episodes of old Disney channel shows.
Even though I still enjoy the same things, now I see different things in them. For example, in “Lilo and Stitch,” I realized how protective Nonnie was of her sister, despite their fighting. I almost cried when Stitch as looked for his ohana.
On some level, maybe these are things I always understood. Maybe what we call “maturity” is just being able to put into words what we instinctively felt as children.
Going back to Anne, immediately after making this comment, she decides to go for a walk in the park, where a tall, dark, and handsome classmate rescues her from the rain, sends her flowers the next day, and they date for the rest of their time in college.
I doubt that will happen to me today. Or ever.
But did Anne’s friends hang a Darth Vader piñata from her doorway? Or fill her living room with Hello Kitty streamers?
I think not.
In fact, I never thought about it until today, but Anne’s friends didn’t even spend her birthday with her. They went to a football game, leaving Anne curled by the fire with the cats and her friend’s great-aunt.
So, who really had the better birthday?
I’ll probably have a boyfriend eventually. But right now, I have the best friends and family ever. And that’s a pretty great way to start the next decade of my life.
Although meeting James Earl Jones would also be fantastic.