I Survived 21 Years of Life. Now What?

I apologize deeply for my lack of haste in regards to the timeliness of my blog postings. I swear, I’ve been very busy with school and the overall experience that is life. It’s been over a week and I still haven’t publically acknowledged the passing of the final barrier to adulthood, so I figured I’d mention it briefly here tonight. On Saturday the 31st of January, I finally bid farewell to the innocence of childhood (I haven’t considered myself a child for probably a decade, but let’s toss that aside) and welcomed in the beginning of my 21st year on Earth. Woohoo, how exciting!

Like any good member of productive society, I drank to celebrate this most joyous of occasions. I averaged around 0.78 shots per each person that attended my birthday party, and considering that my apartment was packed you could say that the drinks were flowing. I’d like to also like to thank all of my friends who not only attended but also brought me some real alcohol to balance out my young yet growing stash of Washington State-made wine currently residing on the top of my fridge. If it wasn’t for you, my party would’ve been the college equivalent of soccer moms getting wasted over cheap Riesling.

It took me until the dreadful morning after, and the horrendous finish for the Seahawks in the Super Bowl, to be brought back down to Earth and realize the importance of 21 years.

I get it; it’s just a number, relatively arbitrary in the grand scheme of things (on the cosmic calendar, my existence probably equals an indiscernible percentage of time). However, for us it’s important. I can go buy cheap alcohol from the corner store, I can sit in the bar at a restaurant late in the evening, I can even attend ‘adult’ events where I have no intention of consuming alcohol. Oh, what a great feeling it is to be an adult!

So far, through my few days of legally consuming alcohol, I’ll admit that it’s sort of neat. Yet the importance of my 21st year alive doesn’t lie mainly with my newly-earned access to liquid-goodness, it comes from something much more substantial; freedom. When I say freedom, I don’t mean the sort of freedom you experience with the closing lines of the 1812 Overture on the Fourth of July, I’m talking about that sort of freedom that is indefinable to a point. With the affirmation that I have somehow, miraculously or not, avoided death for 21 years, the last barriers of adolescence are removed. The proverbial door has been opened, for better or worse.

I’ve come to the harsh conclusion that I, quite simply, have run out of excuses for not effectively managing both my time and my passions. The excesses of life no longer forbid me, these guilty pleasures that we drunkenly dabble in yet staunchly repress in our vicious hangovers. A sort of guilty freedom is the new norm for me, and so far I’ve taken its entrance into my life with a cautious yet hopeful approach.

I’m not a kid anymore, yet at times I feel like a helpless penguin waddling on an impassible ice sheet, yet here I’m constrained by nothing but myself. It’s a frightening thought to be completely severed from using innocence as an excuse. A humbling baptism through fire, though at times I feel like a match doused in the entire oil reserves of the OPEC states (required political reference complete).

Here I am, this weird human-being thing, and somehow I survived 21 years on this little pale blue dot. It’s a pretty eye-opening thought. Yes, I found a way to fit in a Carl Sagan line in this entry, apparently nothing radical shifted in my brain over the course of a few shots of Tennessee Honey (few, in this context, is indefinable and left to interpretation).

Here’s a point in my writing where I get out of my chair, peek my eyes upon the top shelf of my Ikea bookshelf, dust off the fading leather encompassing the words of Marcus Aurelius, and transcribe something beautifully epic about ‘acting as the rock standing strong through the torrent of the crashing waves’, thus some centuries’ old nugget of wisdom about being fortunate that I’m able to bear the tides of struggle yet stand to tell the tale. If you haven’t heard this before, shame upon you. Read a book, youngin’, But what I wrote above helps me reach full-circle in this ill constructed, rambling sort of reflection that I’ve designed in this entry. Sure, this is a weird point in my life, where the very foundations that I’ve based ‘common sense’ upon act more as free-flowing sand than bricks of stone, yet I’m glad for it. I both despise the uncertainties of discovering oneself yet cherish the very fact that I’m able to drag myself to my apartment late at night and bury my head in my journal. To avoid the cliché ofthe white knight, this humility and pure awe that I experience through daily self-reflection is the ultimate luxurious necessity that defines my privilege in life. For that, I’m truly thankful. Here’s to being a human being.

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