26 Jun

In four days I will turn 23. 23 years old. It’s a non-descript number, unlike 30, 40, 50 or 60, which mark real advancement. 23 merely blends into the blur that is the twenties. Yet to me, it means I’m creeping closer toward 30 and further away from my teenage years. Once I turn 25, the scales will have tipped for good, and there is no turning back.

I am an adult by 23, right? I have a full-time job where I generally sit at a desk from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., often longer. I have a telephone on my desk and do my best to sound like a professional when answering it. People no longer quizzically ask if I’m an intern, to which I replied an aggravated, “No.” I pay student loans and car insurance and pump my own gas. I even buy stamps and on the rare occasional, such essentials as light bulbs. I try to take responsibility for my actions and act responsibly. All these things should punch holes in my adult card, right? Yet why do I still feel like a kid sometimes, even at 23? Why do I still use the phrase, “When I grow up, I’ll….fill in the blank.”

Maybe it’s because I still live with my parents, under the same roof where I went to third grade and learned how to tie my shoes. Maybe it’s because I share a room with my 11-year-old sister. Writing is satisfying yes, but lucrative, no. At this point in my career, living on my own is out of the question. Unless I wanted to live in semi-poverty. Which, I do not. All this might be different had there been no student loans. But there are, many of them, and I didn’t have the foresight in college to think about how they might drastically affect my life after it. But there’s no use wishing and regretting and postulating.

All we have is right now, really. And because I have the tendency to be nostalgic about the past, I forget sometimes the gift that is the present, that is today, that is this very moment even. Might one day I look back on my 23rd year and think, “Those were wonderful days, when I was so carefree” ? Turning 23, with all it’s blandness, is a reminder, like any birthday, that our lives are not a clock that continually ticks. Time does, in fact, run out. And in the end, all we have is today. To enjoy, to love, to revel in the time we’re given, for all too soon, more days will be behind us than ahead.


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