This is a poem I wrote yesterday and wanted to share with my readers.
You spend your whole life with a small group of people.
They teach you how to live, take care of you, feed you, shelter you, hold you, cherish you.
Then when you grow to an arbitrary age, eighteen, everything changes.
You remind everyone that you’re coming into this new stage in your life. You wear it like a badge of honor: I’m an adult! Look at me! My opinion really matters now! I’m a real person!
Eighteen means nose piercings, the possibility of tattoos, the freedom to smoke, the legal ability to have sex with Robert Downey Jr., or at least someone older than you.
Eighteen also means college. It means you are expected to pay for it.
Even if you haven’t had any prior work experience, haven’t earned or saved up any of your own money, haven’t discussed finances before because you’re the first one to grow into this role.
But eighteen also means you’re not old enough to actually provide for yourself, so you don’t, and they do.
Eighteen means you can get married. And you remind everyone of this fact.
You brandish it in their faces: look at us! We’re in love! We’re soul mates! We’re going to be together forever and all those divorce statistics can go to hell (and so can anyone else who tries to tell us differently)!
Eighteen means figuring out where you stand with them. Are you still young enough for them to pay or are you old enough to have sex whenever you want and move to Italy?
You weren’t ready.
Maybe if you hadn’t tried so hard to be eighteen they wouldn’t try to treat you like you’re twenty.
But you are. And this is how it is.
Nineteen means reality checks.
You’re not ready to get married and you know it. Especially not to someone who buys you fake rings and tries to sell even faker claims.
Nineteen means you really do need mom and dad and other mom and dad. You need them more than anything.
Nineteen means you told them you didn’t want to go to the fantasy land even though they invited you repeatedly.
And you didn’t go. And they went. And you’ll never forget because this is the first time they were really together and you weren’t there.
Nineteen means you live in an apartment and you get a job. You get big itchy lumps all over your body because you can’t handle life, but you do it anyway.
Nineteen means less crying than eighteen, but crying nonetheless, and now the tears come from a deeper crevice you didn’t know existed, and it hurts not because you miss someone or you hate him, but because you feel truly, deeply alone.
Twenty means second chances and new lessons.
Twenty means wading into the pool from the shallow end instead of cannonballing into the deep one like eighteen.
Twenty means growing into who you are, with everyone on your side, instead of putting up a wall with you and him on one side and your loved ones on the other (why was eighteen so stupid?).
Twenty means you feel like ten inside but you look seventeen on the outside and they treat you like you’re nineteen on the outside.
Twenty means twenty. Two decades of life and you still expect everyone to serve life to you on a silver platter.
Twenty means lonely nights.
Twenty means not knowing if your family is your friends or if your family is your family or your family is yourself. Or if you have to grow into who you really are before you choose who is in your family and create one.
Twenty is realizing you are just like them. They were twenty. They created you and you left them.
Now you have to be ready, because twenty-one is coming up.
So is twenty-five. So is twenty-seven. So is thirty.
So is he. So are they.
Twenty is being scared shitless.
But twenty is also accepting it and knowing that this is life.
And this is twenty.