Oppdatert: 4. jan.
BEING 21 SUCKS.
And not just for me, either. Everyone has a hard 21rd year. It’s a fact. Trust me. I learned it on TikTok.
It’s nothing personal, it’s actually astrological - it’s literally written in the stars.
The reason why being 21 sucks so bad, according to the TikTok witches, is because you enter a profection year.
So I did a little digging to find out what this is all about.
Here is what Google (and yes, that damn TikTok) has taught me about profection years.
When you’re in your profection year, it is a year of wandering. There are varying shades of ‘darkness‘ involved in this year.
Themes: Solitude, Rest, Suffering, Illnesses, Enemies, Self-sabotage, Endings, Healing, Closure, Spirituality, Karma, Old age, Afterlife, What’s hidden, Subconscious, Catastrophe
...let’s just say...I felt...seen.
Do I have any 20 year olds still reading???
I’m sorry. Come back. It wasn’t that bad. I don’t want to scare you.
As your internet older sister, I just feel like I need to prepare you for what’s to come. And I guess, the only way to do that...is to fill you in on how shitty being 21 actually is.
Straight from a recovering 21 year old.
The most interesting thing about the last year of my life, was how in so many ways, it felt like it was just the beginning.
It was exciting. Promising. At times, I felt more “myself“ than ever before.
I think because because for the first time in a long time, I was allowing my true self to see the light.
Once I made the connection between how much happier I was and how authentically I was living, I felt like I had cracked the code. I was crying when I woke up in the morning, out of pure gratitude for my life. Friends and family members were telling me they had seen a noticeable glow about me. My happiness was shining from the inside out. I felt powerful. There were no plans ahead. No path laid out for me, no rules. I had a momentum. I was free.
I was home.
So then how, does a person seemingly “on top of the world“ fall into an 8 month long depression, drop 80% of their friends, isolate from everyone and avoid all messages and responsibility?
Well. Start taking notes, kids.
Reuniting with my “true self” felt the same as reuniting with any childhood friend you haven’t seen in years. A joyous reunion, filled with hugs and laughter, reminiscing on old memories, old feelings, old points of view. It’s beautiful how familiar this person can still be, even after so much time.
But shortly after this memory lane stroll, there is a deep dive into anything and everything you quite possibly could have missed in your time apart.
And when I went on this journey of self discovery, I realized that I had missed...a lot.
The true me, and the representative I have been showing to the world...they actually had very little in common.
And that was terrifying. It was uncomfortable.
Who even am I!?!?!? What do we even talk about???!
This awareness was the double edged sword of my reality. I was thankful to be “free“ but the part of me that was trapped was still traumatized, and the part of me that didn’t even know she was trapped, was still traumatized.
There was work to be done. Or undone, if you will.
I began piecing my life together like a puzzle. Helping tie up loose ends with old memories. Pinpointing the moment beliefs were formed, and attempting to replace them with new ones. And while I could definitely start to understand my life in a broader sense, I was still confused, and that confusion led to sadness and that sadness led to guilt because, what do I possibly have to be sad about?
You know when I briefly mentioned an, uhh, *accidental* 8 month period of depression?
I say accidental because, I truly, truly didn’t intend for it to last this long.
(What, you don’t plan your depressive episodes?)
When things started to get messy, and I started to uncovering and working through past traumas, I’d get really stressed out. Old triggers and suppressed emotions would come up, and I lacked the perspective and knowledge on how to properly deal with them. It freaked me out.
Suddenly, I wasn’t feeling like “myself.“ But in a different and more painful way than I’ve ever experienced before.
So when I would get sad, I’d give myself a deadline.
“Okay, I’m kind of going through it right now, but let me just get my shit together and in a week I’ll be back to normal.”
Here I am, after 8 months of continually convincing myself I was going to get my shit together.
8 months of missed deadlines.
8 months of not normal.
When my birthday comes around, I usually reflect on the previous year of my life with love and gratitude. It’s hard for me to move on from particular ages and phases of life. But this year when my birthday came around, my heart sank.
I had so many plans for this year.
This was the year I was going to live in Costa Rica.
This was going to be the year I learned how to cook.
This was the year I start liking hikes.
This was going to be the year I got my social anxiety under control.
This was going to be the year I text people back.
This was going to be the year I finally started treating my body right.
This was going to be the year I stopped doing nice things for people who were taking advantage of me.
Above all else, this was going to be the year that I healed. I wasn’t going to spend another year down on myself. Not when I worked so hard to get up.
So when it hit me that my 21rd year was over, I felt sad.
It made me realize how long I‘ve been in the depths of whatever this is I’ve been through. Almost the entire year. And what did I have to show for it? No videos in Costa Rica, no crazy stories from a party we decided to throw on a random Tuesday night, not even a noticeable glow for my family members to gossip about.
There was no consolation prize for my 8 month long breakdown, and there surely wasn’t cameras to capture it.
Turning 22 just reminded me of what I thought 21 was going to be like. And how terribly I failed my own expectations.
Things got bad when I came back home from Barcelona for Christmas last year.
And it’s really unfortunate because January 2022 was totally going to be the start of my comeback era. A new year, new me.
And when I say things got bad, I mean things took a turn from “ugh this sucks” to “wait I lowkey don’t know if I want to be on this planet anymore.”
So I told my closest family and friends and they stepped in to help me.
They helped me find therapy treatment.
During the course of the whole winter I did therapy sessions such as psychodynamic therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and humanistic therapy. It was kind of my “last resort.” This was one of the darkest times I’ve ever experienced. I was willing to try anything.
I sat, curled up in a ball, on a big comfy sofa in a small cozy room.
I had an eye mask sitting on top of my head, choosing which songs I wanted to listen to for the next hour.
I was anxious.
The therapist leaves the room, the lights turn off and I felt the same as I did sitting at the edge of the big kid slides at the waterpark growing up. When you’re laying there with your toes dangling over the edge, hands crossed over your chest, turning your head around to see your brothers with their friends waiting to see if you’ll chicken out.
I gulped, and closed my eyes. There was no turning back.
I quickly dissociated from my body, and felt the peace that I had been aching for, drape my body like a blanket.
I felt small. Like a tiny baby curled up into gentle, mothering arms. It wasn’t intense, it was calm. My body was resting, so my mind could roam free.
Suddenly, the mothering gentle arms multiplied and in my deep meditation, I envisioned 40 different arms wrapped around me. I was being nurtured and adored, almost as if I was a baby, even though I still looked like a 21 year old. The arms around me belonged to women. A room filled with women trying to get to me, trying to hold my hand, kiss my head and brush the hair out of my face. These women felt familiar, and I felt safe with them. I didn’t know how, and part of me assumed they might be my angels or spirit guides, lifting me up. Either way, I was comforted by this dreamlike vision.
The next thing I remember, is being directed towards a chair sitting in front of a projector. The women gathered behind me as we watched the screen ahead.
On the screen, played scenes from my life, specifically from this past year of my life.
There was a scene of me in the bath, reading at 3 in the morning. Then a scene of me making myself breakfast in the kitchen. Grandma kissed me on the head and said “proud of you.” Another scene flashes of me anxiously walking into a yoga class back in February.
I remember feeling one of the women’s hands squeeze mine while this scene played.
More scenes danced across my mind, and most of them seemed random, unspecific and even insignificant. Like me choosing water at a gas station instead of Pepsi Max. Or me going to bed early. Or me hunched over, scribbling in my journal.
I looked around me and all of the sudden, the women had faces.
It was me. All of them.
I saw the 18 year old version of myself, sitting on the floor next to what had to be the 55 year old version of myself. And on her lap, was 5 year old me. I don’t remember specifics, but I knew instantly who was in my company.
All of the me’s that have ever and will ever live, gathered around to celebrate 21 year old Sofie.
And it was pretty beautiful.
They showered me with compliments and affection, each taking the chance to thank me. Thank me? For what?
An older version of myself explained that out of all the “me’s” standing in that room, they were most thankful for 21 year old me. She suffered, to heal her younger selves, and to create a better reality for her future selves. I couldn’t believe it. This whole time, I felt like I had let everyone down.
She showed me that the movie playing on the projector was a compilation of those late nights and early mornings I spent being 21 years old. Researching mental health. Practicing the art of meditation on YouTube. A scene of me writing in my journal for the first time in two years. Crying and talking through traumatic experiences with people who love me. Scenes of me meeting up with a fortune teller and energy workers. Scenes of me screenshotting angel numbers on my phone. Scenes of me physically writing and rewriting down all of my core beliefs. Scenes of me going to bed at 10 and waking up at 6. 18 year old me laughed at that scene. How I wake up before noon nowadays is a mystery, but I am still proud of myself watching it.
I guess I was getting my shit together all along.
I sat peacefully with my life go by with all these versions of myself, and I finally arrived at the thought, “this year was necessary.”
And it’s true.
Maybe being 21 doesn’t suck for everyone, but I think the “profection” year, is still necessary. For everyone. Even if it doesn’t happen when you’re 21.
Because at some point, if you haven’t yet, maybe you’re 28, 48 or 17, you’re going to follow that knowing you have. The knowing that takes you back home, back to the you who you were before the world told you who you were. (Now that’s a tongue twister.) You’ll be presented with the gift of getting to spend this life the way the real you wants to. But the painful departure from one’s representative sled is a part of the deal, unfortunately.
That’s just what they don’t tell you about healing. That it’s messy. That you’re on top of the world one moment, and flat on your ass the next. Nobody tells you how angry you’ll be. Once you understand your life and how you were hurt as a child, how angry you’ll get. Or that “doing the work” is a never ending process you can’t put deadlines on. That people will leave your life because they can’t relate to you anymore. Nobody tells you that your old self will cling on to you, begging you to “go back to normal.” And nobody tells you how scary it is to let that version of yourself go. Nobody tells you that you will have to grieve the death of your old self before you fully step into the power of your true self.
But shit, if someone would have told me at the beginning of this year that these were just growing pains I would have felt tremendous relief!
After that day, I think of being 21 a little differently. I reflect on this year of my life with such intense pride.
It was so clear to me, after taking a little step back, how much progress I have made. I am an entirely different person than I was a year ago. In the most beautiful ways.
Knowing I can’t see the progress up close, has helped me take the pressure off of myself. and taking moments to be proud of my growth, helped me realize that the sadness I had been feeling wasn’t a setback, but a sign that I’m processing my emotions. A sign that I’m feeling. A sign that I’m healing.
We can’t put deadlines on our healing. Showing up for yourself is a process you dedicate your whole life to.
But my track record shows that there IS light at the end of the tunnel, so I’m trusting that, and you should too.
Here’s to all the 21 year olds there ever was. And here’s to the future versions of ourselves that are counting on us.
I love all of them.