Saturday, January 21, 2012

Another year

Stop This Train by John Mayer
"So scared of getting older
I'm only good at being young."

I've never really been great at spewing out my feelings in words. It's hard to capture that fleeting rush of emotion and sentimentality that lasts only for a few seconds, too brief for my brain to coherently understand what I'm feeling. It often comes out in an incoherent, unorganized stream of thoughts that really don't lead to any conclusion. But here, I'll try:

Realizing the finality of being a second semester senior didn't exactly come to me all at once. It was gradual, as the days went by and the morning announcements began a countdown of the days left in school, as the weeks went by and there was increasing talk of Senior Ball. Then January 20th came.

I remember when I was a little kid, January 20th meant waking up, jumping on my parents' bed, and screaming, It's my birthday it's my birthday! The greatly anticipated birthday parties were the highlight of my year, complete with personal little "You're Invited!" cards that went out to the twelve or thirteen girls in my class ("No boys!" my mom would always insist), the corner pieces and frosting roses of the birthday cake that were the most coveted because they had the most frosting and back then, no one cared about their weight, and the goody bags filled with an assortment of colorful pencils, erasers, candy, and other surprises. But these years, there's little anticipation. I haven't had a birthday party in four years because I always have too much homework, too many projects, not enough time, and there's the (stupid but real) fear that I'll plan it all out, but no one will be able to come, and there'll be an overflowing surplus of wasted food.

Anyways, the point is, there was really no excitement or anticipation on the eve of my birthday, especially since it was a school night. It would just be another Friday, another year older. And of course, all the jokes and privileges that would come with my new legal age, like being able to: buy lotto tickets, scratchers, lighters, cigarettes, and porn, go to clubs, rent hotel rooms, and drive other people legally. But considering only the latter two, maybe three, would be relevant to a person like me, there's not much that turning 18 really offers.

But driving back home from the spontaneous, last minute birthday dinner at the Counter,Stop This Train came on my iPod (well, my friend's iPod that I'm borrowing indefinitely). The timing couldn't have been more appropriate; it was practically like a movie (LOL).

But then, excuse the cliche, it "hit me."

Second semester senior year may be one of the greatest and funnest times of my life, summer may seem like it's not coming fast enough, and college may seem like it's too far away. I'm always looking forward, but I've realized I can never go back. Legally, I'm an "adult" and although nothing really feels different, I'm only ever getting older. Turning 18 hasn't all of a sudden launched me into a whole new stage of maturity, but it's made me turn around and see how much I've grown up since the years of goody bags and invitation cards (although I still always call dibs on the corner pieces of cake). We can always rewind movies to replay a scene we love or a time we missed, but there's no rewind on life-- if you've missed it, that's it. After I've graduated and moved away to college, "home" won't be the place I live anymore. I'll never spend the majority of my time at "home," instead, the majority of my days will pass by in dorms, then apartments, the definition of "home" will change, and it'll just be a place I visit a few times a year. Those photos I have on my desk, walls, and bulletin boards that depict my life now, I'll eventually see them as only memories.

People always tell us this. Life moves fast, enjoy your childhood, "You only life life once" (or in the words of Drake, "YOLO"). We always hear this, but never internalize it. We tell our parents we can't go out to eat with them because we have too much homework. We miss out on family parties because we're too busy working on college applications. We just want to get out of the house, at the prospect of something more exciting on the outside, leaving two of the most important people in our lives without a glance back. "YOLO" doesn't have to mean go out, party, be a kid. It can mean learning to appreciate the present, the people you have, and where you are in life, now.

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