Siana Bangura: Week 7

Today is Siana’s Birthday. Sort of.

birthday Siana Bangura week 7

Today is my birthday. Sort of. Today I am 21 years and 2 months old EXACTLY.

Yes, I am making a point of it.

Two months ago, I turned twenty-one. If I had written a letter from my sixten-year-old self to my twenty-one-year-old self it would be full of angst, worry, bitching and anguish. Until my twenty-first, I hadn’t looked forward to a birthday since my sixteenth. Anybody who has me on Facebook will be used to the annual ‘Oh man. It’s my birthday… one year closer to death’ spiel.

On my twentieth birthday – I kid you not – I locked myself in my room and asked my family to not put Stevie Wonder on and forget about gifts.  Naturally, they ignored me and my mum used a hairpin to undo the lock on my door (yes, that actually works). THIS year though, I put aside the Wednesday Addams act and was genuinely quite excited about hitting the big two-one.

I don’t really know why we in Britain mark this as a milestone though: by eighteen we can drink, smoke, have sex, buy a lottery ticket and drive but tradition is tradition. In any case I usually argue that age is just a number and any ideas about ‘significant changes’ occurring overnight are purely myths BUT on the 16th of September 2012 something about me did change. I was (and still am) a little terrified of adulthood. I don’t want to pay bills, do my own grocery shopping, cook Christmas dinner, pay adult fares for everything, and think about popping out my offspring. But on the day I turned twenty-one, some of that fear and angst disappeared (not re: offspring. That is still nightmarish).

I don’t think it is possible to ever be completely satisfied with everything in your life – to not wish you were bigger/ slimmer/ taller/ smaller/ prettier/ better – but you can definitely get close. I think it’s easier the older you get – you have so many other things to fret about that there is less time to wallow in nonsense. I still rant about the mundane but I do that to vent and let it go. I try not to hold onto negative things for too long anymore. These days, I don’t bother asking ‘does my bum look big in this?’ because I already know the answer: red beans and rice didn’t miss me – I’ve got back. I can no longer be bothered with feeling bad if my pals from home and I don’t speak for months on end or if certain people who I thought were my friends turned out to be foes. That is how the cookie crumbles. These days I am too concerned with scraping essay deadlines, trying to hash up a life plan before graduation day and working out how to make my first million (some days I’m trying to work out how to make my next fiver).

A good friend of mine once said, “if you don’t like your life, then change it.” That’s a solid philosophy for everything. You appreciate wise words far more when you leave your teens behind you. As this terms draws to an end and I slog away with work whilst trying to maintain some sort of social life, I find comfort in thinking about my winter trip to Amsterdam, Christmas time with my family, and having actual ‘free-time’ before I launch back into work mode. I have learnt not to stress about people taking the time to look up my email address and sending me bitchy messages anonymously, or people having a problem with the way I dress, the way I write, the way I speak, and my love for green tea. Everyone says it, but life really is too short.

So today I am twenty-one and two months old and I am looking forward to the adventures and challenges that lie ahead. I know that I won’t ever have arms, legs, abs, hair or a face like Rihanna’s, or be everybody’s best friend. I know that the finishing line is quite close (although it feels like it is miles away) and that the last slog is always the hardest part of every journey. I’m quite content in my own skin and for now, that’s the best birthday present I could ever have asked for.