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Today is 18 of June 2021. My last day of being a 20 year old. By 00:00 tonight, I will officially be 21 — an “adult” by law.

I still remember June 19th of last year, my one and only wish was “to be happy”. Ever since the pandemic hit everyone living on this planet last March, a lot of things in my life has turned upside down. I found myself extremely unhappy, and was unable to genuinely find the joy in living my daily life. I was struggling a lot. Not being able to go outside, see my friends, and the fact that I have to get used to the new lifestyle of all-online hits me hard. People keep telling me to move on and start living my life how it is right now, and yet I barely able to accept that things are different now. Things started going rock bottom and the worst days I’ve ever been through in my life was that month of last year. I forced myself to smile and laugh everyday, but deep down I knew that I’m not genuinely happy.

Looking back at my state of being last year, I can say the one and only wish that I wished last year really do came true. I am happy now.

A lot has happened in a year. Breakups, rejections, loneliness, it really was a tough year for me. And yet, here I am — still standing, stronger than ever. I learned a lot of things in my being as a 20 year old, and through looking inwards I was able to do better outwards. Going through breakups and rejections gave me a lot of time to reflect on myself. “Am I genuinely a good person or I just like to believe that I am a good person?.” “Did I worked hard enough?” and such things. It was a hard time for me, and to make it worse I was too hard on myself too. And in that low point of my life, I found something that I will never be more grateful for in my entire life: BTS.

It was really, and truly a blessing.

It was a weird feeling, a rare one in my case. I have never been a K-Pop fan in my entire life, and yet here I am now: made a stan account just to keep up with the overwhelmingly amount of information on BTS. Never in my days since I count myself as an ARMY, missed a chance uttering to myself “I am so grateful for BTS”, because they do mean THAT much to me.

In a world where it’s too cruel to have faith in, BTS gave me a reason to have faith. In my days where I felt like I just can’t handle it anymore, BTS gave me strength. In a world where everyone is so busy with themselves, BTS gave me a shoulder to lean on with their music. Seven of them are truly the reason why I can at least put on a smile and laugh a bit every single day.

But above all that, the one most meaningful lesson that BTS taught me is to be a better friend for myself.

Being a better friend for yourself means being there for you when you’re feeling down, insecure, sad, or even angry. Being a better friend means knowing how to treat yourself the right way, to respond to your own emotions — be it the negatives or the positives. Being a better friend means to find solitude with yourself. After all, if we can be a great friend to others, we surely can even be a better friend for ourselves, couldn’t we?

Things may change a lot in a year for me, and I may have found happiness i the most unconventional way, but I surely don’t regret any of it. Every rough patches, every ups and downs I went through shaped who I am now. Of course there are bad days where I feel down, complaining how the world isn’t on my side. But with the newfound strength and faith I have now, and maybe with a little help of “Magic Shop”, “Mikrokosmos”, and even “Inner Child”, I can assure you that I can go through with it.

So, here’s to turning 21, to growing, to becoming a better friend for myself, more than yesterday, less than tomorrow. Cheers!