Friends, I've been anticipating this moment, this day, for at least four months now, probably a little longer. My exams are over, summer is here and in two weeks I'll be eighteen years old. Eighteen. I don't feel old enough to be eighteen. Yet I'm sure I'll make it my own. I felt the same way about turning 17, and look how good that turned out! I cannot wipe the smile from my face right now.
The past week has been something. I was in a bit of rut, trying to keep up my motivation to study, whilst dealing with everything else that was going on. Then my phone died and I got pretty much cut off from the world all of a sudden. I'd forgotten what it was like to have to manually check my emails, and I promise now my exams are over, I will throw myself into replying to all the beautiful messages you guys have sent me this past month.
Not having a phone has actually not been as bad as I expected. It's a little inconvenient obviously, when I'm out and nobody can reach me, but it's also been incredibly freeing. No one's expecting me to reply to their messages straight away or update my instagram or snapchat. It's reminded me that I made a vow earlier this year that I would not create unless I felt compelled in some way to do so. That means no more creating because I think I should be, or taking pictures because I need to keep up with social media, or to keep myself relevant. If it doesn’t serve me, I don’t spend my energy on it. I’ve learnt, slowly, to value my energy – physically and mentally – so that it truly serves my greatest purpose rather than serving someone else. When we let ourselves be fulfilled, we can better serve others. I'd got so caught up in capturing everything, I'd forgotten somewhat what it was like to simply live it.
It's 9am on a Monday morning and I'm about to sit my last ever exam. I clutch my essay plans, notes scribbled like a map so I won’t lose my way. I know I know this stuff, but at the same time I feel like it's all new to me and I don't really know a thing. I cannot tell you how nervous I am. Then it’s time to go in and there is no way to stop time, no way to back out; this is it now. My seat is changed so instead of being at the front of the hall, I'm sitting in the very last row. I feel really heavy. Like I’m carrying the weight of a million worries as I walk into the hall. Every hour of sleep I’ve missed seems to be rushing up to catch me.
The gym hall is cold and the atmosphere is so tense I can almost feel it. From my seat I can see everyone else in the hall, scribbling like crazy. It’s an two-and a quarter hour long exam. Whenever I stop writing I can see the other people beginning to leave the hall and they are all so confident and effortless, like they've been doing this all their lives. But not me, I feel like I’m just pretending and someone is going to catch me out soon. Beneath all my worries and nerves there is an underlying sense of peace. I know that whatever happens in this exam I will come out of it alive, having not let my fears dictate my life. That is my kind of success.The questions are all the ones I was hoping for and even though I mess up and score out lines and make up some statistics, I feel like I've done okay.
When we get out of the hall everyone is crowed into the little yellow PE corridor. I see Samantha and Morgan and Shannon and I'm so happy. Zara comes bounding out and we're both just like 'powers of the president!?' and we grin and she wraps her arms around me. We smile like the happiest and luckiest girls in the world, and for a second, I think we might just be. I'm glowing, the my exams are over and everything is okay, kind of high I get when everything goes right. Everything feels big and bright and beautiful. I've done it. I can breathe out.