Tuesday, August 14, 2012

i am sixteen going on seventeen

Yesterday, I became seventeen years old, so young it's almost despicable. It seems uncanny, really, because as I've watched the people I love get new numbers of their own -- 18, 19, 44 -- I felt like I was growing old with them. Yesterday, I was reminded that I have not. I was reminded that I am not easing my way into adulthood or middle age-ed-ness along with them. I have been merely spectating their glorious debuts.

But today, I am seventeen, so young it's enviable, so much life ahead of me.

For once, I feel like I have something to show for this last year. I have something to celebrate this time; I have a thousand mistakes and a thousand kisses and a thousand battle scars from the whole thing. It's liberating.

Maybe it's because this was a leap year. Maybe it was because I had 366 days to create whatever beautiful disaster this year has been instead of the normal 365. Maybe I just had more time. Maybe I just had more hope. Maybe I just had a driver's license.

Last year, my own birthday terrified me. This year, after everything, I'm just so excited to wake up in the morning. Nothing will ever stay the same. There is nothing so constant as change. And that's okay with me.

A weird part of birthdays is the question "How does it feel to be such-and-such age?" It's taken me seventeen years to answer that honestly.

The answer is that I felt the same Monday morning as I felt on Sunday night, but I feel differently than I did the morning I woke up on my sixteenth birthday.

It's this: Life cannot be quantified in birthdays. "It's the little moments that make life big." Life cannot be quantified in Leap Years or pages read or hours spent or words spoken, because life, like intelligence, can't really be accurately quantified at all. Watching life happen isn't like watching a thunder storm. It's much slower. It just happens and there are so many things you cannot control. You are the master of your fate, you are the captain of your soul, but you are not the master of anyone else's fate or the captain of anyone else's soul, and your fate and your soul is intertwined with so many other fates and souls and you aren't going to become something else the moment your birthday comes around again. Your birthday came last year, too.

And life cannot be quantified in birthdays.

I'm just going to keep this short and finish it off with my own birthday toast, because today is truly a celebration of so much more than myself.

So, to my parents, to Sophie, to Hazel, to Millie, to Avery Taylor and Kaitlyn Lindley and Matt Davis and Kyle Somer, to Alex Barker, to Morgan and Chandi, to Connor and Benjamin and KP, to J, to Katie and Matt, to Emily Henson, to Emily Peterson, to my nana and papa and grandma and grandpa, to President and Sister Baird, to Kyoko, Elder Kishi, to Hayley Walker, Noah Jackson, Harli Mitchell, to Lauren and Christina and Holly and Diego and Landen and Stephanie and DJ, to Amy and Dean the yoga deities, Debbie and Julie and Val and Elaine and Arwen, Mallory Ash, Shelbie Shill, Emily Luse, and to anyone anywhere who has ever had any hope for me, any love for me: Here's to you. Without you, I wouldn't be celebrating something so beautiful.

"May God thy gold refine."

"You're not an alcoholic until you give up."
All my love,


Shelbie Jude Shill said...


you are brilliance in a human body.

stun everyone, sweetheart. you're going far.

EJ said...

happy birthday Addy!!!!! hope you have a great day! ♥

Emily said...

^^^^ Shelbie's comment: ditto.