[Originally written 02/06/08]
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Eighteen: Itís the age at which the legal system and the military regard a person as an adult, yet closer people want to hold on to your childhood. Of course, most eighteen-year-olds Iíve observed want to receive the respect that comes with being grown folk, but their friends who havenít yet reached the age-eighteen milestone and most family members donít really change their attitudes. Daddy canít believe that his little girl is grown-up; Grandma says it feels like only yesterday she saw her grandchild being presented to the family after birth.
I guess that the legal system chose eighteen years of age to mark adulthood because itís the age at which most people graduate from high school and begin college. It makes perfect logical sense in that case. Socially, however, eighteen is an age of being in limbo between hanging out with the adults or the children at gatherings: The children suddenly have a fearful reverence for you because they understand the meaning of your age, yet the adults still think that youíre too immature to join their conversation. This, of course, registers with an eighteen-year-old as an irritating incongruity.
Although eighteen may not be an age well-suited to social limbo, it certainly is the age for being in a metamorphic stage. I learned that from experience. I didnít get over being seventeen on my very first day of being eighteen; truly being a member of grown folk doesnít happen overnight (even as much as I wanted it to). But over the course of this past year, life has come sailing at me so fast that I really am an experience-influenced, changed person.
My conscience has grown tremendously-my mind is now predisposed to reprimand me every time I say or do something that isnít right. And since joining a Christian fellowship group at my college, my faith in God has become bigger and stronger. I have even begun to teach myself to not wait for the command to do my part in housework (a major accomplishment for me, since there are a lot of chores at my house).
Of course, that is not to say that I was consistently well-behaved all year. Iíve pulled some major shenanigans (especially since I started attending college last August), made some people furious (though not always intentionally), and have lapsed in judgment and responsibility at times. Some of these mistakes were genuine learning experiences; others were totally avoidable and completely stupid when they happened.
Itís hard to believe that I will be through with this in-between age come tomorrow; itís been a wild, unforgettable ride on the roller coaster of life. But I have yet to find out what my nineteen-year-old adventures will be. Iím excited and just as eager as I was this time last year to continue the journey. The thrill is in not knowing for sure until life happens, but one thing I know for sure is that it is going to be a wilder, more fun, and even more unforgettable experience.
"Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not."-Jeremiah 33:3, King James Version
"Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path."-Psalm 119:105, New Living Translation
The present and future are not about who you were in the past-rather, they are about who you are and who you will become.
"Writing is truly glorious in that an author can put on paper the words that fear denies the voice to speak."-from my short story, "Set Free"
"...What you feel is what you are;
What you are is beautiful..."
-from "Slide" by the Goo Goo Dolls
Life surprises you! And I'm talking about the good stuff, because a bad surprise is not a surprise at all, it is just shock and horror. All of these good surprises, they are rewards, and the things that happen to remind you that you matter and that you should make yourself faithful so that you can be deserving of all of life's good surprises. Every wonderful surprise in life is a chance to flourish, so grab life by the horns-but don't ride, steer instead: life's horns are life's joystick. You can handle it, because your life's horns are made especially for you. If you don't give up, all of this will hold true and life will continue to surprise you.
Aubri, a. k. a. "Leopard Lady"