Society and movie screens like to portray a person’s 21st birthday as the greatest excuse for jubilation and boundless excitement; a cause for celebrations and excessive drinking. Supposedly It’s at this point when you’re considered a fully-fledged ADULT and you’re cast away from the nest, with the expectation that you will go onto fly and soar into a real life of independence, careers and marriage.
I look around me and worryingly It seems I’m the only one with feelings of trepidation at the thought of turning 21. Deep down, it feels like I have the grace of Bambi and beckoning Adulthood is a vast frozen lake of uncertainty beneath my stumbling legs. In the back of my mind, I hauntingly know there is no more room for mistakes now; one false move and cracks in the ice begin to show or worse yet, I’m plunged into unforgiving darkness.
It’s at this moment when I look back in flabbergast at my teenage years spent wishing that I could grow up quicker. I desperately want to grab my acne covered and unfashionable younger self and tell him sternly that he will never have it so good again! At what other point in your life can you have; fun as an only pursuit, stupid mistakes tolerated/even expected and the luxury of wallowing in pseudo-problems instead of real ones? Then I look even further back into my fondest memories, back to that beautiful oasis known as childhood. The summer days halted in timeless bubbles of perfection. The endless treks scouring skips and alleys for furniture to put into a secret fort. The weekend mornings spent religiously watching Nickelodeon (Kenan and Kel was my favourite!).
Yet as much as I yarn for yesteryear, my sobering reality is still slowly beginning to set in and there is nothing I can do about it! Are my best years finally and truly behind me? Is my future down a path of decent rather than ascent? I truly hope not. Yet as the cliché goes, only time can tell… And who knows, perhaps adulthood could exceed all my expectations. It could even exceed youth and go on to be something more incredible and unimaginable than I ever thought possible. In the best case scenario, I could ultimately become the person I was always destined to be? I might travel the world in search of adventure and beautiful women? Perhaps my work goes on to be appreciated across the globe and my presence coveted?
In and among all the questions, I merely find more questions and no amount of wincing or dreaming ever seems to solve any of them. However, maybe that was my problem all along… looking too far forward leaves me panting and exhausted at all the infinite possibilities, while looking too far back leaves me misty eyed and nostalgic. Past or future I just can’t win; I can’t go back and I can’t control tomorrow.
My last lingering thought as the calendar moults its pages. How about today, the present, the gift of now? Maybe I should stop worrying and start living.