As my twenty-third birthday approaches, I can’t help but wonder where the time has gone. Although my commute to work is a bit longer than I’d like it to be, I get some of my best thinking done during my drive to the office in the morning.
Twenty-three years doesn’t seem like a lot of time at all. But then I think about all of the experiences that have shaped my view of the world thus far, and I realize that age is not just a number. In twenty-three years on this earth, I’ve built meaningful relationships with other people, I’ve lost loved ones, I’ve traveled, I’ve learned how to play an instrument, I’ve jumped out of a plane, I’ve had four dogs, I’ve found something I’m good at, I’ve tried, I’ve failed, I’ve moved on, and I’ve learned a ton in the process. Over the course of these twenty-three years, I haven’t just been surviving. I’ve been living.
And, for some reason, this makes me feel old. I already know I act old; I’m just wondering how much longer it’ll be before acting and feeling and being all meet at some miserable “over the hill” crossroads.
I already find it difficult to enjoy things I used to enjoy. I don’t like “moshing” at concerts anymore. I watch movies I used to love and think: “Wow, this is fucking dumb.” I am unable to put up with people I used to consider my friends, and I have very little patience for immaturity — which sounds weird coming from somebody who’s no stranger to making a fool of himself.
But a lot can change over the course of twenty-three years. It’s just enough time to grow up into one person, change, then decide I don’t like who I’m becoming and turn into somebody complete different. The possibilities are nearly endless.
I recently attended my five-year high school “reunion.” I put the word “reunion” in quotation marks because I don’t know if five years is long enough for this shin-dig to be considered one. I know a lot can change in twenty-three years, but how much can change in five?
In December of 2008, I was wrapping up my first semester of college. I was only seventeen years old, I had just lost my virginity, and I had no idea about what I wanted to do with my life. That last point might still ring true, but I’d like to think I have a slightly better idea now.
Every day on my drive to work, my mindset alternates between I’m right where I want to be and I have the whole world in front of me and Time is running out for me to do what I want to do. I can’t help but feel like I need to rush sometimes — like my dreams have an expiration date. If not now, when?
Tomorrow? Next week? Before I know it, I’ll be turning twenty-four and I’ll be asking myself the same questions, probably with a few new ones thrown into the mix.
Many people my age have the opposite problem. While I’m concerned with the future and what’s going to happen, some of my peers have trouble letting go of the past. My high school “reunion” was perfect evidence of this. Some people don’t change.
But some do. And that’s the beauty of this part of my life. I can up and leave, and it would almost literally affect nobody. I can change basically anything about my life anytime I want. Just because I go to bed at 10:30pm every night doesn’t mean I’m old. I’m young, man. I’m right where I want to be and I have the whole world in front of me.
So when I turn twenty-three in a week, I know nobody will like me, but I’ll be sure not to worry about where the time has gone. As long as I can say the last sentence of the second paragraph of this post with confidence, I won’t worry about much at all. I’ll know the time has gone somewhere worthwhile.