She’s 22, he’s 21. Both are completing their last semester of college, set to graduate in December. In their level of intellect, emotional maturity, and self-awareness, they’re light years ahead of where I was at that age, exposed to so much more, in some ways forced to grow up a lot faster, yet better protected in others.
He reads more than 50 books a year and approaches life with curiosity. She battles adversity to stay focused on her goals and excel in a demanding curriculum. They have big hearts. They lean on each other for support.
Early twenties, when you really start making decisions that begin to steer your life, are the age of self-discovery. And guess what? They’re discovering that the self is complex, that there is not a finish line you cross where the self becomes a complete whole, but instead you realize we are all on a twisty shape-shifting journey over which we define and redefine ourselves.
They have foundational character traits: determination, critical thinking, introspection, empathy, and compassion. They have a healthy balance between self-confidence and self-doubt. These assets will serve them well because the world they are entering is complicated and imperiled. They will have to find their place in it.
I can lend a hand. I can hold a ladder. I can cheer the victories and console the losses. I can offer my perspective when called upon. But like everyone else, they mostly have to figure it out on their own. It can be lonely and intimidating, even when you have the unwavering support of people who love you. I’m thankful they have each other, and rely on each other, which might be their most important resource in times of need.
I just needed to write a few words to honor these two. Apologies if I come off as bragging a bit.