Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Almost 19

Fine corral dust swirled through the air, stirred up by the horses’ hooves. Beneath me, my horse swayed at a gentle walk, accustomed to young riders. My friend, atop her own horse, circled past on the other side of the corral, our instructor turning slowly in the middle as she watched us both with a keen eye.

“How old are you girls?” she asked us.

Our birthdays fall within two months of each other, so we both answered, “Almost eight.”

Not seven.

Almost eight.

The instructor shook her head in her usual, terse way. Then she told us something that has stuck with me for over a decade now.

“No, you’re not almost eight. You’re seven,” she said. “And you’ll never be seven again.”

Fast forward twelve years, and I’m almost nineteen.

But for the moment, as I post this, I’m still eighteen.

Tomorrow I turn nineteen, which is one year away from leaving the teens fully behind, forever. Tomorrow I turn nineteen, that bridge between the awkwardness of sudden legal adulthood at eighteen and the rocky stage of the twenties, when you’re supposed to have figured the adulting thing out (right). Tomorrow I turn nineteen, and I’ll wave goodbye to eighteen for good.

Nineteen feels a bit surreal, I’ll have to get used to it; it also seems full of possibilities, though.

But leaving eighteen behind forever?

The truth is, we can’t stop time’s advance. Many of us (and I speak for myself) want to rush through so many parts of our lives – the rough teen years, the hardships, the struggles – because we think the next year will hold something better. It’s the human condition that we rush, rush, rush through everything, good and bad, until something jerks our feet out from under us and we have to stop and sit.

And be still.

Even if it’s just for a minute.

Tonight, I want to take a moment to be still and enjoy the last few hours of eighteen, a temporary but precious gift I’ve been given for three-hundred-sixty-five days. Eighteen tested me and grew me, shaped me a little more into the person I was created to become.

So for now, I’m just eighteen.

It may change tomorrow, but that’s okay; I’ll take the next gift – nineteen – and cherish it too.

Here's to looking ahead, but sitting and resting in the now. 

Have you ever found yourself wanting to rush into the next step in life? Or have you discovered that sometimes it's better to enjoy each stage while you're living it?



  1. Happy Birthday!!

    I remember thinking I wanted to be all grown up when I was fourteen. I was totally done with all this 'unimportant' stuff, but now I wish I had the same energy and enthusiasm as back then. Back then I had a ton of dreams, but now I realize it is so much harder to turn your dreams into reality. And to be an adult. And do adultish things, but now I'm twenty-one, and I really should have things figured out (Ha). It takes time. A lot more time than I think society 'allows', in some ways.

    The landscape in that photo fascinates me. The gray stuff is rock, right?

    1. Thank you!!

      Yes, and the timing is different for everyone. Some people figure things out quickly, some prefer to take their time...I'm one of the time-takers. Slow and steady is a phrase I live by.

      Yup, it's rock! This picture is from an overlook in Yosemite National Park, facing the back of Half Dome. I went there with my family this past summer. It was stunning.

  2. Everyone in my family always thinks I'm a slow-poke, but yeah, my pace is the pace of a snail. I read somewhere that for INFJs, it isn't that they don't know what to do. It's that they don't know which of their many passions to pursue. Have you found that to be true for you?

    If it wasn't rock, I was going to guess some sad looking snow, but I've never seen anything quite like that. Here, it would be snow...Interesting. I always think I should take/save pictures of landscape that fascinates me for future writing references.

    1. Yes, I've totally found it to be true! I have many interests, and I know, deep down, which one(s) to prioritize, but I just wish I could prioritize them ALL.

      Landscapes are often fascinating, especially when they're not what you're used to. In Yosemite Valley, you'd look up and wonder, "Why is the sky so gray???" only to realize you're staring at a cliff face, and you have to crane your neck WAY up to see the sky. It's like being in a bowl. And then there are landscapes like the sagebrush-speckled hills of Nevada, or the salt flats in Utah - it almost looks alien. (Compared to the hills-and-trees regions I'm used to).

  3. Love this! I just turned 19 too (hey, looking at the date, less than a week before you did!), and as I've come to the end of my teen years, I've wanted to do this more. Stop. Sit. And enjoy being the age that I am. I actually don't like the idea of growing up at all, but like you said, we can't stop time's advance and each age will hold something new. So remembering to take the time to stop and enjoy the moment we're right now in is something so important and so special.