I’m penning this in spite of the party poopers that feel like after 21, there are no more milestones to look forward to (other than getting old).
Today, in this body, I’ve been witness to so many milestones – both visible and invisible (like, for instance, getting my ears pierced for the first time a few weeks ago!). Looking back, I realize I spent so much time looking forward to society’s markers of adulthood, and now it feels as though I’ve largely arrived.
In a way, like if life were a video game, I do feel a sense of accomplishment in realizing I have gotten to this level and somehow managed to stay alive.
Still, the fervor with which I yearned to reach many of these milestones seems largely displaced. I would surely tell my younger self that driving honestly isn’t that fun, college graduation will most definitely be online, and tequila is the devil. In true Aquarius fashion, I’ve identified my act of defiance: creating my own milestones, ones that hold meaning and are reflective of what matters to me. That’s why, for my 22nd birthday, I’ve decided to launch my own website!
The past few years, though they have been incredible, have arguably been a time of confusion and exploration. I mean, I guess that’s college for everyone, but it has felt so starkly opposite to the clarity of vision I held as my younger self.
My life before college was devoted to riding horses. I lived on farms, drove horse trailers thousands of miles, and dreamt of one day doing it all on my own. There was a fire within me to chase down something that was largely intangible, and that feeling honestly still astonishes me. Clearly, there is so much power in defining and chasing your passion and I’m thankful every day for the people that recognized something in me and went out of their way to support me.
Needless to say, so much of who I am is because of them and I find that so beautiful.
In many ways, I accomplished what I set out to do: showing at horse shows across the country while never owning a horse of my own, and soaking up all the knowledge I could along the way. It never dawned on me that there might be other sides to myself that I had yet to uncover. Of course, life has an interesting way of redirecting us.
Going to college, unbeknownst to me, I was steadily investing in my writing skills. Through my coursework, interviews with female entrepreneurs for The Bloom Journal, writing about concerts in DC for WVAU, and lending my voice to The Blackprint, I found myself typing way more than I think I had originally intended.
After working all year, summer break was the first real time in 5 years I truly had no obligations, so obviously I booked a flight to Europe.
It was in the back of a Megabus headed to New York to catch my flight that I thought about keeping a blog to document my travels for my friends and family. For two years, I have maintained my Tumblr page, recounting my experience with police brutality, my love for travel, and even some of my struggles as a young person trying to figure out love and life.
Time and time again, against my better judgment, I pushed back against the people around me when the idea of investing in myself and creating a real site was brought up. Sometimes, the plainest truths rest right under our noses. All along I have been developing my voice and purpose as a writer, though I was arguably the last person to come to that realization. My love for storytelling and traveling has shaped my experiences and the life I live, but I don’t think I ever recognized any real value outside of the fact that they make me happy.
Today, I’m thankful to the people around me that have supported me and pushed me to create. You all saw something I was completely blind to.
I am a writer, which, I must say, feels kind of crazy to type out. I’m stating it unequivocally because if writing has taught me anything, it’s that our words hold power, far more than we will ever be able to comprehend.
Through lilmigsbigworld.com my aim is to cultivate a space to share my stories. Please go check it out and let me know what you think! It’s been a long time coming, and honestly something I wish I had done ages ago. Alas, one can’t rush the process, and, if anything, continuing to work on this site has shown me how restorative investing in something that is “yours” can be.
Writing might not always be a driving force for me, but, today, it feels like one of the few things that makes sense. There are certainly plenty of unknowns but it feels as though I’ve found my North Star yet again. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in these 22 years, it’s that life is far too short to not be doing something that stirs something within you. I’m not envisioning a fairytale, because, without a doubt, there are tough days where you literally end up crying in a manure pile (ask me how I know lol).
Those days are definitely not fun, but they make the other days, the awesome/phenomenal/insanely blessed days, that much more valuable.
Good or bad, it doesn’t matter… As long as I can find meaning in the effort I’m putting forth, life will handle the rest. Now, I’m learning to breathe in patience. Life really is not a race, and have no intentions of seeing it flash by. I’m setting my own milestones. Who knows, maybe the next one is a book?
About the Author
Miguel is a senior at American University studying Business Administration with a concentration in Sustainable Change & Analytics. His passions outside of writing are running, traveling, and learning new languages. Follow him on Instagram.