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.”
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?