Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Long Overdue Birthday Ramble

So yes, the rumors are true, I have indeed turned 18. What does it feel like? is the awkward question I have been asked surprisingly few times. And, thus far, it feels basically like 17 felt. Sorry.

And yet, there's a weight that comes with turning 18. Of course, there's all the "baggage"-- the voting eligibility, the 'adult' status, the possibility of being drafted if there was one, the ability to buy cigarettes (not something I would ever do, but it's really fun to mention just to scare people :P). And of course, there's a sense of a section of life passing away. The only comparison I can make is to finishing the first book in a trilogy (or a quartet, or series, whatever you like): There's a big chunk of life to look back on, a volume filled with begginings and foreshadowings but no conclusions. And looking ahead, there are several more volumes, and while you have some educated guesses as to what they might hold, you ultimately don't know that much for sure. Even people unlike me, who have not only college majors but careers-- whole story arcs, one might say--planned out, really know very little of what life will or even might hold. And, surprisingly, that's ok.

I remember, when I was much younger, thinking that 18-year-olds were so mature. I mean, there were adults, and of course they're mature, but people who were 18 were almost like me, in that the older crowd referred to them as kids, but they were big and tall and could drive and stuff. They were like gods (small 'g'). Even in, say, early high school, I still thought similarly. I suspect now that that's because I knew very few 18-years-olds at that point. As to the maturity thing, well, people refer to ME as one of the most mature people they know (*waits for the laughter to die down*), which is a very scary thought, mainly because I, um, know me. Ah well.

In our 'Answers' folder I recalled coming across an envelope adressed 'To Ethan, to Be Opened on Your Eighteenth Birthday.' My parents had forgotten about it until I got it out. What was inside dissapointed my expectations (was an inheritence to be gained by defeating my long lost twin brother in armed combat, then slaying his hideous two-headed creature from the pits of Hell so much to ask?), but it was interesting nevertheless. It was a letter I had written to my 18-year-old self on my ninth birthday. Even after seeing it, I have only a very vague memory of doing so, but I'm sure it was at the behest ofmy mom.

My heroes at the time were Brett Favre and Reggie White, whic was unsurprising. I lied reading about old "Amiricin" wars. And so on. And so forth. In my vague, dredged-up memories, I think I was annoyed and resistant to writing that letter, and the other day I had to keep from making remarks about corniness and so forth. But upon further reflection, it seems kind of neat, and I may relucantly feel a tad grateful to my mom for making me do that. Is that maturity? Or maybe I'm just going soft.

Oh yeah. According to that letter, my favorite subject in school was math.

Go figure.

12 comments:

Rachel D said...

When was your birthday? I missed it...

I, too, used to feel that 18 year olds were so grown-up. I think it's partly because I tended to look up to people older than I was. I also think that television shows geared at 10-14 year olds tend to make older kids seem more.. adult like. Basically, any show with teenagers. Now, as I am 16 and many of my friends are older, I find it very hard to associate these teenagers with 'adults'. I think it's because I don't feel like much of an adult myself, though people do seem to think I am several years older than I am.

By the way, you are one of the most mature people I know. But being mature doesn't mean you can't ever be silly or mess around, you know. My dad's 41, and he still does that. All the time. You may be silly at times, but people tend to see the mature side a lot more.

Anyway, because I missed it, Happy Belated Birthday!

Vidd said...

Wow. I think at age nine, my heroes were Luke Skywalker and Indiana Jones

Emily said...

Well happy birthday...

I think the letter idea is cool. I used to write letters to myself but I have no idea where they are now. :P

I dont think theres anything wrong with maturing a little.

Anonymous said...

Math?

Go "figure"?

I get it.

Anonymous said...

btw, that was not i that left that last message. okay, so i guess i'm back tonight. plans change. yeah. i think i'll email you. maybe. ugh, i can't wait for Monday....

Anonymous said...

When i was 9, being eighteen then was the equivalent to being 30 now. The letter idea IS cool. I mean, it's better than a time capsule!

Ethan said...

So this is what I get for posting and then not coming back for a week, eh? *kicks self* I may have to reply to this in two parts...

Rachel: My birthday was the 28th of January. And yeah, TV shows tend to have teenagers act like people in their mid-twenties (often because they're played by people in their mid-twenties). And you do seem old for your age. ;-)

If maturity meant not, ahem, 'goofing off,' I would want no part of it. The way I don't feel mature is more like a lack of confidence that the more mature are supposed to have, or... something. I dunno. Oh, and Belated Thank You! :P :D

His Vidd-iness: hehe. That was about twelve or thirteen for me.

Emily: Thank you, and the trick is to get your mom to hide them away for you. ;)

Ethan said...

And anon... (sorry)

Anon-1: Sorry to put you through that. :P

Ellen-anon: I don't like Mondays, myself, but to each his own.

Anon-3: Yeah, and now it's hard to imagine the kind of reverence little kids give to people my age... Weird...

Bruce Gee said...

Yeah. I had a similar experience at turning forty. You think turning 18 is momentous? Try forty.
But. Even that seems somehow old hat these days. You think turning 40 is momentous? Try fifty.
But. Am I repeating myself again???

Old Dad Gee

Ethan said...

heh, Yeah, I guess from your perspective, 18 is kinda... puny. It looks like a big deal from down here... Or it did...

Heidi said...

(Commenting on comments) Yeah, I saw some of that kind of reverence when I worked at camp this summer. During Junior week 10 little boys had "crushes" on me. *cough*

Oh, and I wrote a letter like that. I think I found it in an Owl magazine years ago... I'm not allowed to read it until I'm 25 though. :P

Ethan said...

hehe. Have you told Aaron this? ;) :P I like the image of him vs. ten little boys from camp....