17th birthdays are like being in front of a firing squad waiting to get shot because turning 18 is like getting shot. It’s even worse for me because I’m definitely an only child and turning 18 and leaving home will be like getting shot. Pretty sure getting hit in the body by a speeding bullet is still healthier than eating ramen seven times a week and gaining 15 pounds in the course of a semester.
Sweet in the sense that we’re closing a chapter of our life that we’ve been writing for the past 18 years. Some of it was already written for us, by our parents, by our teachers, even by our friends. But next year, at around this time, we’ll have at least written the first few paragraphs of an entirely different story, if we wish.
One of my pet peeves is when American kids glorify the process of growing up, yearning for the freedom that not living under your parents’ roof brings. And then three months later they come crawling back, with bags of dirty laundry in tow, a hangover pounding at their temples, a car full of Sonic drink cups, new understanding of stomach pumps, and a heavy sense of homesickness that won’t go away until they move into a house they can finally call their home again. I’m certainly not afraid to admit that my home is wherever my parents are, and that I’ll be lost without them for a good length of time.
But as all humans do, we learn to adapt. Years from now, I’ll look back on my life before graduation and the memories will be faded, like old photographs left for too long in the sun, maybe even stained with a few tears and ripped in places where I wasn’t careful enough with them. They’ll sit in a forgotten box, along with remembrances of the people I once knew, the music I once listened to, and the things I once accomplished. But they’ll be there nonetheless, and the painful moments will hurt a little less, and the joyful moments will feel a little less jubilant.
It’s important to capture what’s happening right now, the warmth of the sunny September day on my skin, the dogs barking in the distance at a stray child on a tricycle, the temperamental wind blowing my hair into helpless disarray, the smell of yet another suburban barbecue party down the street, and the endless depth of the blue, blue sky, and try to hold on the memories of times gone past.
Cheers to good times that we had, cheers to the nostalgia we’ll have in the future,