Yesterday, October 21st, was my birthday.
At six o’clock in the morning, my mom became the first person to ask “So, how’s it feel to be seventeen?” Well, Mom, it feels the same exact way it felt to be sixteen. Nothing changed overnight. A Birthday Fairy didn’t come to me in the middle of the night, sprinkling me with pixie dust that made my boobs bigger and filled brain with wise, mature thoughts. Sure, I can legally buy M-rated video games and see R-rated movies by myself now, but it’s not like I plan to do either of those things immediately. It wouldn’t make a difference whether I turned seventeen yesterday or eight days from now. Thanks to my terrible forgetfulness, I’ll be writing sixteen as my age until March anyway.
I never understood why kids get themselves excited about turning a certain age. I remember in seventh grade the people around me couldn’t wait to turn thirteen and finally become teenagers. Wooo, your age finally ends in the word “teen”. How thrilling. You want to know why I look forward to my birthday? People give me stuff and I get to eat a cake with my name on it. It’s the one day of the year that I can be somewhat self-centered without feeling guilty. Now that’s something to be excited about.
Overall, my birthday was fantastic. I was finally able to drive to school after two and a half months of sitting on the parking permit waiting list, Starbucks actually had a pumpkin cream cheese muffin left after school, and my mom made ham. I love ham.
Do you ever feel like people do certain things just because they feel that’s what they’re supposed to do? That question is rather vague, I know, so let me describe the scenario that prompted this question.
I volunteer at my school’s library during my lunch and study hall period. This year I’m with three seniors. Today, a sophomore (freshmen are in a separate building, so they’re the youngest in my building) came into the library asking for help finding something. After we took care of him, one of my fellow aides said something along the lines of “Ooooh, fresh meat! We should have sent him in the wrong direction just to mess him up!” Seriously? The kid was at most two years younger than us. If I saw him the hallway, I would have no idea what year he was in. Other than the title, not much of a difference exists between the years. Making fun of the “younger” people just seems silly to me. I feel like people do it just because they think that’s how it’s supposed to work. As much as I cherish television, I think it implants stupid ideas like that in our heads.
While I’d like to think I’m innocent, I’m guilty of doing this too. When I was little I would only have the urge to cry after an injury if it was extremely painful. No matter how small the fall, however, I let the waterworks run. Why? Because everyone else did. I was under the impression that, just as sweat helps cool the body, tears somehow heal wounds. I had quite the imagination as a child.
Now I have to wonder – what do I do today merely because I feel like I’m supposed to?
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