Two Decades Down

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Today, I am twenty and no longer a teenager. This is insane.

Mom has hung streamers all over the kitchen, and Dad made the annual spray paint birthday age that he tapes to our window. The dogs jumped on me to wake me up. A whole bunch of people have sent well wishes, and I got to talk to my grandparents, who told me all about their weekend watching my brother row crew while the rest of us were at a wedding (congratulations, Dan and Kristin!). It has been a great day, and it’s not even halfway through!

This year has been remarkable in a lot of ways. It’s been a year of intense friendship, of NEEDTOBREATHE, of 4:30 am coffee at summer camp, of poetry, of prose, of sleeping until 1 in the afternoon, and of too many action movies and being too excited to sleep. It’s been a year of tears and laughter and “what on earth am I going to do with my life and English major.” It’s been a year of watching my dad lose his best friend to cancer, and of my mom supporting all of us through our wild ups and downs. My brother Miles won his state hockey tournament and got accepted to Boston University (go 2021 Terriers!). My sister Kate discovered a love of 60s music and sends me soundtracks all the time. My brother Charlie became an incredible rower (far better than me) and joined the color guard. My closest friends let me film them in bad movies (and they made great vampires).

It has also been a year of learning how to be okay. This winter, I had a not-so-great bout of depression, compounded by my anxiety and probably also by the utter lack of sunshine in blizzarding Maine. It was not easy. Some days were much worse than others, and I’m still working on it, but if nothing else came of all this, I have realized the incredible network of support that surrounds me. As soon as my crew coaches knew, they were on it and incredibly encouraging about counseling and working it out; one of them found me a few days later and gave me a box of “blues away” tea, a little gesture but one I’ll probably never forget. My roommate wrote me notes and left them all over our room. My best friend took me on little adventures, like sledding down the chapel hill on our snow day. Mom and Dad called all the time and found me all sorts of “happy” electrolytes to drink after practice.

I’m home now, and I’m okay. What is most important is that I will continue to get okay and get even better, something I would not have been able to do without the incredible love and friendship and support of all you people. Thank you for everything, even though most of you probably didn’t know. It’s the little joys and small actions of people that remind me of how amazing all of you are.

So that’s me. I’m twenty years old, two decades into this wild adventure that continues to unfold as my life. I’m sixty thousand words into my newest book, I’m baristaing in Bloomington (hit me up for some pretty fantastic coffee), and I’m gearing up to train for a half marathon. It’s all good, and it will continue to be.

Thank you for making all of this possible.


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Comments

Dad

Twenty fantastic years, that have FLOWN by! I remember day one like it was last week, and talking the nurses into letting you sleep your first full night in my arms, as long as I didn’t sleep. It was a very easy and wonderful trade off. Happy 20th and we are all so proud of the woman you have become, and the blessings you share with everyone all the time. XOXO

Miles Jones

Love you so much char. You’re an amazing sister and person. Can’t wait to hang this spring and summer.! Happy birthday

Donna Ray (formerly Thuma)

Happy 20th, dear Charlotte!!! 🙂 Hard to believe I’ve known you since you were a wee 10 years old. I am constantly amazed by your creativity, strength, perseverance, and the love and care that you have always shown to all of those around you. You have the most beautiful caring heart of any 20 year old that I know! Wishing you joy and peace always! XO!

CW

Happy birthday (belated), Charlotte! (here I am, commenting as promised!) I hope this new decade is full of the best adventures – I suspect it will be!

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