“Fifteen, there’s still time for you,
Twenty-two, I feel her too
Thirty-three, you’re on your way
Every day’s a new day.”
– Five For Fighting, “100 Years”
With every post in the past, I’ve had a clear idea of what I’m going to write about. But, tonight, I have no clue what I’m going to talk about in the next six or seven hundred words. I’m just going to kind of ramble and revise until I have something worth putting on my blog.
Let’s get something out of the way first: I’m not like most teenagers. In a lot of ways, but especially how I feel about getting older and growing up.
At first, I felt the same as most people. When I was ten, I wanted to be twelve. When I was twelve, I couldn’t wait to be fourteen. When my fifteenth birthday hit, I decided I was comfortable with that age for a while.
My sixteenth birthday came at the end of 10th grade, and for the first time, I wasn’t completely comfortable with it. I loved being right between ten and twenty, old enough to have my permit and hang out with my friends on my own but not so old that I had to worry about applying to college or getting a job. Sixteen, to me, felt old.
Seventeen was worse. Don’t get me wrong, my birthday was great. All of mine have been, in fact. But that just felt old, even more than last year. I was in my upper teens now, long past eighth grade and starting high school. I was getting towards the end.
And tomorrow, on April 11, 2013, I become a legal adult.
I don’t know how my eighteenth birthday will be. Maybe I’ll blog about it! I’m sure it’ll be fun…a few close friends are coming over this coming weekend to celebrate with movies, pizza and a Nerf gun fight. I’m not sure if we’re trying to be ironic since I’ll be an adult, or maybe we just really like Nerf guns.
But, my birthday isn’t here yet. Right now it’s very late the night before my birthday, and I’m sitting here trying to take in the fact that these are my last few hours as a kid.
Here’s the thing. There’s no such thing as a definitive goodbye anymore. When you say bye to someone who’s leaving, you’re still going to stay connected on Facebook, and Twitter, and maybe they’ll even visit occasionally.
Stick with me.
To use an example: when you say goodbye to your friends before going off to college, it isn’t a definitive goodbye. You’ll still see them during the holidays, and you’ll text them, etc. Let’s agree that the reason we say goodbye is because the way we see them is about to change. Instead of hanging out every day, you’ll hang out a few times a year. Less and less as time goes by, and eventually, you’ll stop.
But you won’t say anything then, because you’ll already have moved on. Saying goodbye to someone is really saying farewell to your current friendship situation, a way to preemptively let go so you’re okay when it actually happens.
Same thing here. I’m saying goodbye to my current life situation, which is being a child, but I’m not really letting go yet. I’ll still watch the same movies, act like my same old self; I’ll even hang out with the same people, at least until I leave for college (but that’ll be a completely separate emotional post).
So yeah, this is more of my excuse to say goodbye to childhood rather than an actual farewell. It’s not like I’ll wake up tomorrow in a suit with slicked back hair and a briefcase full of mortgage bills. But I’ll start acting like a kid less and less, the same as you see your friends less and less after saying goodbye. Then, one day, you realize you don’t really miss those things anymore. And you wonder what even happened when you weren’t looking.
My favorite kinds of books are the ones with kids as heroes. That’s the kind I write, incidentally. Whenever I would read the ones about the socially awkward guys, the fourteen year olds just starting high school who are cool but shy or whatever, I’d always think, “That’s me.” But I’m not a fourteen year old kid just starting high school anymore. I’m almost done. When I was going in, I just wanted more than anything to find a solid group of friends, figure out exactly what I want to do, get good enough at doing that, and more than anything, get to the point where every day I live is life at its fullest.
I’m there, guys. It took a while, but I’m finally at the exact right point in life. I have the best group of friends I could ever ask for, I know without a doubt that I want to write (not professionally, though; even my ambition has a limit), and I think I’m finally at the point where I’m good at it. It used to be that I couldn’t wait for the day to end, but now, the days never seem long enough for me.
But, I digress. The point is that when I was younger, all I wanted to do was ride out the roller coaster and hope it took me to a good place. And now that it has, I’m a little sad to get off the ride.
But! I’m not really getting off. Just changing rides. I know that a lot of people reading this, especially adults, are slapping their keyboards and crying out, “You silly teenager, your life is just getting started!”
See, I get where you’re coming from. But I also think that people don’t emphasize enough just how awesome of a thing childhood is. Two of my brightest friends (my Ideal Readers, in case you were wondering) aren’t even in high school yet.
So yeah, I’m sad to be finished with this ride. But I have no clue where this next one will take me, and this time, I’m not in a hurry to get to the end. I’m just excited to see where it goes before it gets there.
Because there are so many things out there worse than growing up. There are plenty of emotions worse than missing something fun that happened. After all, I’d rather hurt a thousand times over because of good memories than hurt once because of bad ones. And whenever I think, this is the time of my life, I remind myself that I can never really be sure until I live the rest.
Wish me luck, everyone. Here comes the rest of my life.