Thoughts on Turning 18

Today is special because it is a celebration of growing up. It’s a day of thankfulness and gratitude, to my parents, to life, and to knowledge.

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Today I am publishing this because I have spent eighteen years in the universe that we call existence. Sometimes I look around and wonder, what sort of world is this that my parents have born me into? And on some days, this world seems different. What a world. Some days it’s sunny, some days it’s cold. Sometimes it’s cruel, sometimes it’s kind and beautiful. Through these highs and lows comes the gaining of knowledge and wisdom, and now is a better time than ever to reflect on what I have learned through the passage of my life with all of yours.

The first thing that I know is that growing up is not a destination. We do not wake up one day and announce to the world, here I am, I have grown up. No, growing up is a process, and is the culmination of all the years of the past. Today is a testament to the years I have spent growing, and improving, and cultivating my interests, my skills, and my relationships. I have found that maturation is less the action of turning a leaf than the slow ripening of a fruit, the sweetness and juice brought out by the passage of time. And if we must look to the past to acknowledge today, then we must look to the future as well. For I know that growing up does not stop here, not today, although today is a brief point of rest to look back at the road I have traveled with everyone. Tomorrow is not a day of stagnation but of a beginning of my next leg of my life. I depart with eighteen years of experience under my belt. And for those of you who have added to my wealth I am forever grateful.

The second thing that I know, is that as cliche as it may seem, we must seize the day. We cannot wait until conditions are ideal in order to begin to accomplish anything great. We must be greedy for every drop of juice of the lemons that life throws at us. I remember in middle school, every summer was pure boredom. I know the depths of boredom like some people know darkness, or the keys of a piano, or the emptiness of a stage. In the barely furnished apartment that we were taken to every summer, there was hardly a book to read, or friend to talk to, or movie to watch. I would walk up and down the ten flights of stairs three times after each meal that we ate because there was nothing else to do. The boredom, day after day, deepened my hunger for life, and pushed me to exploit every single drop of juice that life would give me. And I implore all of you, grown up or not, to do the same.

What else do I know? I have read hundreds of books, hundreds of poems, countless academic and research papers, spent hours and hours in front of the piano or with my violin in my hand. I have sat in front of blank sheets of paper and spilled my brain onto them. I have wished for osmosis to work with knowledge during late nights when I want nothing else but for the biology, physics, or chemistry textbook to become assimilated into my brain. I have been to a handful of countries and seen legions of foreign faces. Perhaps what I have gotten out of all of this – eighteen years worth – is that nothing is more precious than a human relationship. Which is why today I cannot write this post without thanking my parents for their support.

I am a girl of many temperaments, and I have gone through many phases, so to speak. But the only constant in my life has been the presence of mom and dad and their endless patience and persistence in helping me achieve.

Thank you for reading about this important milestone in my life. God bless, and good night.

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