today i turn 21.

Today I turn 21.

I grapple with the same question that I do every year, before I blow out the candles.

“What does it mean to grow up?”

Is it doing your own laundry? Filling up the gas tank? Cooking your own dinners? Being able to drive yourself places? Buying your own groceries? Writing more songs about feeling lost than songs about getting dumped by some boy? Learning to be ok with being alone? Feeling alone?

Many people say you grow up when you’re independent. Okay. So, then, what is independence?

Is it living by yourself? Eating sushi for dinner while watching the news? Having a routine that you stick to every single day that you are secretly bored of and dread? Trying to keep yourself together when you’re fraying at the seams? Realizing that everybody has their own monsters to fight?

I think growing up isn’t any of that. I think we grow up when we start to take on the responsibility of answering that question. Perhaps it’s a question that isn’t meant to be answered. But the process of trying to answer it is what forces us to grow up.

But what do I know?

I’m only 21.