On turning eighteen

Or the end of being a kid.

On the eve of me turning eighteen, I did something, which I have rarely done, I visited the past. I revisited my diaries, now well over a couple of them stacked together inside a box, covering years since I was thirteen years old. Then, I watched a couple of homemade videos showing me when I was eight or nine years old. I was confronted with a different person -the young me- the kid who used to read books way serious than his age; the kid who used to do all sorts of silly things in his spare time (albeit, most of the time); but most importantly I saw the growth.

How much have I changed.

There are few milestones in one’s life that one will cherish for times to come. Every year, I celebrate my birthday in a slightly different manner, always the same but however, I notice the change in me. Turning eighteen is different. More than anything, one feels sentimental when he looks over the years. I, for one, do feel that way.

Turning eighteen is the exodus to free thinking, to expression of what you feel about certain things in life, because let’s face it – this is the time when most of the other people around you take you quite seriously, and you feel this freedom for yourself. Not the freedom in the bourgeois sense of it that has clunked up the minds of many young people, but the freedom to do anything with your life, the freedom that you can have a certain take on something. When I was young, and I think any other young kid would think this way, I thought of life very simply, not aware of the complexities in life’s nature; which one might only try to understand but never come close to understanding it fully. Now life seems much more complex, much more invisible in terms of not knowing what will happen in the future. Quite scary.

As a kid, growing up, I believed in all sorts of nonsense. Looking back at what I believed to be true makes me laugh. I believed in certain things until I reached the age of ‘reason’, which was a few years ago – as I started seriously thinking about certain things. In turn, dwelling on certain hardcore questions that again one might only try to understand but never come to understand it fully. This really doesn’t happen to a lot of other people, let’s be frank, it simply DOESN’T happen to them. For instance when we have reached such times that one might not question the shape of the earth, it’s very unusual, grotesque to be honest, that one might question that whatever is taught in geography is not true, because it’s not the word of God. Now that happened a few days ago at school and how unfortunate that he was a teacher who had taught at school for decades. That left me in awe of that person, and  of the education system that happens to be in place, ah, how unfortunate I feel for those who will never even try to understand, pity; pity is what I feel for them.

Looking back, sentimentally or otherwise (whatever that is), I loved being irresponsible. I loved, and still love the idea of not having to worry about any world issue, to not be able to understand some hard problems, to have the curiosity of a five year old; I dearly miss the time when I first learned the meaning of “I am really proud of you”. Seeing these young kids, and I say to myself, enjoy this moment because once you grow up, you begin to wander in unknown waters. Once you grow up, you’re not a child anymore, and it’s not the playground anymore. Growing up is not always a good thing, I still reiterate to myself what Picasso famously said: “All children are artists, the problem is to remain an artist once you grow up”.

But reading my diaries, help me to understand that ‘yes, growing up is a part of what you have to do in life’, as someone once said to me.

What do I know in the end?


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