The Curse of the 19 Year Old: Panic Freedom

Ok, so I think I have a problem.

The other day was my 19th birthday.


Kidding, I don’t really care about getting old. 😀 It’s more the fear that a chapter of my life has now closed, that era which could still conceivably still be called childhood is no longer. It doesn’t mean that I have to suddenly shrug off my Invisibility Cloak (that tatty rag I used for Halloween when I was eight) and pull on that Robe of responsibility (a bra), but it is something to consider.

Age is not a garment, it cannot be measured in appearance. I think that, for the important things at least, age is a state of mind.

And my state of mind now; confused. Here’s why.

I always considered 19 year olds to have something over their peers. I don’t know what it is but a 19 year old in my eyes seemed to have a freedom and a rebellion that came from being that age; too old for the newly-legally-novelty to still really influence your actions, but not old enough yet that you feel any actual responsibility for your life or your future. Like there is still a sheen of total abandonment coating everything and a flavour of good ol’ “I’m too young to die” in every puff of suspiciously scented cig.

(if you get the reference hidden in there, props to my fellow AR fans… keeping the youth alive… and the movie sequel dream… :P)

In fact, I thought quite the opposite: I felt that a 19 year old was stuck in a place almost of panic, right before you turn into an actual, glorified adult, no longer able to claim it was teenage hormones that made that bad decision, that it was all down to a learning curve, that living excessively was all part of being young. I think it is that fear that makes a 19 year old seem to me one of the most hectic and volatile creatures in existence.

Imagine; one day it is all partying, no consideration, the next – you’re 20, the same laws that once ruled you are literally irrelevant, getting away with a child ticket is no longer merely “a push” but laughable. Using “only when I’m drunk” as an excuse won’t work – who has the time when you have to be up so early for work?!

Maybe life doesn’t stop at 20, even if it does start at 50. But from the shenanigans I’ve seen from some of those 19 year olds in the past, I’m not willing to take that chance.

So, I’m guessing that this year might have some surprises in store. Nothing that I can predict at the moment, but neither could anyone else, and most of them seem to have done alright for themselves.

If life were predictable, it wouldn’t be nearly so interesting. There would be no such thing as surprises. It wouldn’t be worth waiting around for. Zombies would be the norm, rather than that threat we nerds have spent decades preparing for the arrival of.

So bring on the impulse panic decisions. Bring on the freedom. Or, if it swings the other way, bring on the fight against oppression.

Because I may not be ready for it, but what 19 year old is?




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