I now add another year to my catalog of life experiences


Kelli/Liza McCarthy

Many of my birthdays throughout the years

The years of my life are sufficient with milestones. Unique to each person, these prominent or succinct moments contour how lives turn out and who is the most influential.

I am beyond grateful for the people, experiences, and encounters I’ve had so far in the 17 years of life I’ve been granted. 

It’s crazy to think I’ve known two of my current best friends since I was five-years-old, just entering kindergarten. I don’t know the exact moment we became friends, but I’m so thankful that it was a friendship worth enduring throughout the years. We’ve grown up together, gone through school together, and still make time to catch up every now and then despite our hectic schedules. 

I now love to write because of the teachers in elementary school that advocated for creative writing time. I used to fill stacks of composition notebooks full of stories—both false and true—and used them as ways to keep memories alive. I even documented the moment when my fifth-grade teacher tripped over a student’s shoe and went, and I quote, “flying” across the classroom.

I’m thankful that my juvenile self was smart enough to document the moments I would appreciate looking back on years later. 

When I was 12, I got to redecorate my bedroom. My walls are still currently the same turquoise blue color that I fell in love with as I looked at countless images of perfect Pinterest bedrooms for inspiration. Since then, the general look has stayed the same except for the pictures and some trinkets.  

As I look through pictures of my childhood, I can’t help but think, “why would I ever wear that outfit?” Or “wow, I can’t believe I was so into Littlest Pet Shop.” But honestly, I shouldn’t criticize my preceding interests because when I’m looking back on my life today years from now, I’ll probably feel the same way about some hobbies I’m currently interested in, and that’s okay. 

In my 17 years of living, I’ve learned, grown, loved, and am still trying to find who I am in this world.”

These were the toys, outfits, friends, and activities that get credit for my current self. Without them, I may not have wanted to be a veterinarian or may have not matured due to the relationships that have come and gone. 

This is my second COVID-19 birthday, and yes, I do wish I could get together with more people to celebrate. But truly, I’ve had some pretty awesome birthdays that have been nothing short of special, and there will be more in the future—I have my whole life ahead of me after all. 

In my 17 years of living, I’ve learned, grown, loved, and am still trying to find who I am in this world. But I owe a lot of the credit to who I am currently to my childhood and all the years I spent with the things, people, and places that made me happy. 

I am certainly not done growing; I have a long way to go, undoubtedly complete with lots of ups and downs. But as I turn 17 years old today, which feels so much older than 16, I’m simply adding one more year to my archive of experiences that can only help me grow in the future.