• Seana Montalbano

Turning Twenty!

Happy birthday to me!

Even though we're stuck in quarantine, life continues to move and flow and with it comes the natural passage of time. This means that while we all still might be adjusting to this new "normal," holidays and events will continue to come and go, as different as they may be. And as April begins, this means my birthday for me.

I've never really been one to celebrate myself. As a hard-core people pleaser, I tend to put others first and focus on their needs rather than my own. That being said, I was privileged enough to have birthday parties every year up until I was about eleven. Why did I stop at eleven? Quite simply, I didn't want them anymore. I had slowly gained distaste for my birthday and never wanted to celebrate. Partly because little me had always put so much pressure on having the "perfect" birthday party, which is pretty impossible. And partly because I hated being the center of attention.

So much, in fact, that when four-year-old me won a costume contest, I started crying and dramatically refused to go on stage and collect my reward. In truth, I'm pretty sure I ended up in tears at every single birthday party I've ever had. Which makes me laugh so much now! To think about how silly I was as a child really makes me appreciate growing up. I now know that the perfect birthday party is any time spent with loved ones where happiness is shared.

These past few years, I've started celebrating my birthday again with a few close friends. We go out for tea or brunch and just enjoy our time together - a break from our busy lives. And while it's still disappointing to not be able to do those things this year, I know that I will still have a remarkable birthday.

I spent today with my family, of course, since I've been sent home from college for quarantine. I still dressed up for myself today even as I went to my online classes. Then, I went and did a photoshoot with my sister in a small park that was still open, right by the train station. That's where all these great photos came from! After that, I spent some time at home - as we all are - and got ready for dinner. Also, my mother made me this gorgeous strawberry shortcake (my favorite). It was so yummy! All in all today was an amazing twentieth birthday.

Twentieth. Wow. It is crazy to think that I've spent two decades on this earth. I mean, two decades! So much growing up, so much learning, so much joy. And, of course, it hasn't been easy. As some of you may know, I struggle greatly with anxiety and depression. There were even times in my life when I thought that I wouldn't see this birthday come. But, wow, am I so happy to have made it here. My life isn't perfect. It's nowhere near. But I am fortunate to live the life I do and to be surrounded by so many loving friends and family.

Twenty is a big milestone for me. Just like learning to drive and graduating high school, turning twenty holds so much value in my life. To me, twenty marks the start of true adulthood. No more teenage years to rely on others when you screw up. Now, it's on me to get through college and accomplish my goals that lay ahead. And as scary as that is, I am so excited and ready to enter this new phase of life.

And, I can't wait to take you on this journey with me.




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