Birthdays are always funny. The culture creates age requirements for different responsibilities, and we become accustomed to meet this standard which allows us to partake in some sort of activity – driving at 16, adulthood and tobacco use at 18, and drinking at 21. Along with the national age requirements, there are the ones within a community, like years in college or years of “experience.” The silly part comes that once we finally reach these goals, we hardly actually feel different other than acknowledging the fact we finally reached whatever standard. If we were not to keep track of these things and purely judge people on their actions and personality themselves, we would actually see the readiness of an individual to handle some sort of privilege.
Although I am not meeting any of these “standards” today, today is still my 20th birthday, and I have left my teenage years. With reaching this new achievement (if you like so say it is one), I hardly feel ready, nay worthy, to leave my teenage years. I have much to learn and figure out about being an individual adult, bringing me to my next point. Besides giving us privileges, standards show us something else our lack of measuring up, and no, I will not be going into some post on the grace of God.
When we realize that we have failed to meet the standards of the standard, it reminds us that we have either lost something or that we have something that must be attained. When nearing graduation, the high school or college ill-prepared student realizes that in moments, real life is starting up and they don’t know their next step. At 40, men face their mid-life crisis and realize they have fallen out of their prime and need to start living their life again. Now I’m twenty, and it’s time to really start thinking about life because holding onto what I have believed fails to cut it from time to time.
Since today is my birthday and marks the beginning of my 20s, this marks the beginning of the growth of myself as an individual, making the significance of change in this summer even greater. This summer I am learning to separate moments of reflection from moments of fun and not let the two conflict with one another, within reason. Some of the greatest value comes from teamwork and community, and as much as I would like to do something by myself, more hands and more heads can complete a task quickly and more efficiently (Thank you principles of Computer Science). When learning, there is some sort of external teacher; whether nature, individual, book, etc., something must teach the learner. Even though I am satisfied with this observation now more open to others teaching me, as a feisty introvert, I am highly hesitant to being vulnerable. This is when my “lack of concern” for individuality must take place, for I must realize the greater of the two is community. So in this moment of maturity, the time has come for me to break down the walls of introversion and get this life moving.