Time really does fly by. I know that I am only seventeen years old (eighteen in three days), but I just noticed. This week I’ve received a bunch of letters in my mailbox that only make this idea more concrete. Each printed word only brings me one-step closer to realizing how old I really am.
What happened to that little kid with the Power Rangers lunchbox going to preschool?
What happened to fifth grade graduation?
What happened last year?
What happened yesterday?
I could recall all of these memories as if they happened a minute ago, but in reality, they didn’t. The hourglass can’t flip over, time can’t stop, and the clock can’t go in reverse.
The college letters, whether acceptances or rejections, have also changed my way of thinking and the people around me. My parents warn me of the dangers of being an independent college student. My teachers tell me to be proud to go to college. I feel restless in class because I know my whole life is only just beginning. Everything is just happening way too fast.
I can’t handle it at times.
Letters from colleges turn out to be bittersweet moments. Telling my friends, my teachers, my family that I got accepted makes them twist their faces. They are happy that I got accepted, but they are also sad because they know that I’m going. I feel it in the way they hug me that they don’t want me to leave. I hear it in their cracking voices. There is a whole new aura around them when they know the knowledge, which is why I sometimes hold back on sharing the information.
Letters arrive everyday at my house, but one intimidating letter I received earlier this week was from the U.S. government saying that they registered me for the army, in case of an emergency draft. The thought overwhelms me because I never thought of going into the army, but here was this letter that said that I am registered. If the time should come, I don’t know what I would do. Would I take a gun in my hands for my country though it goes against what I believe in?
I’m turning eighteen in three days. Eighteen. There are over a hundred things I can do after those three days such as vote, get a tattoo, change my name, work more hours, adopt a child, get married, donate blood, enlist in the military, and make my own decisions.
These letters brought my thoughts together through their powerful words. They have made me realize how much I have changed and how much I don’t want to change. The clock is ticking, the pendulum swinging, birds are singing, people are dying, men are fighting, children are crying, but I am here standing. I am standing firmly on the ground as I take that one-step outside into the real world with those letters in my hand.