That’s How Being Seventeen Years Old Is

So I’ve been thinking…about birthdays. And ageing. I’ve had my birthday for this year, and it’s no secret that I’m seventeen. And you might be twenty-three, or thirty-eight, or fifty-two. Every year, your number increases, every year you celebrate. We know this already. What they don’t tell you about birthdays and what they don’t understand is that when you’re seventeen, you’re also sixteen, and fifteen, and twelve, and ten, and nine, and five, and two, and one. And when you wake up on your seventeenth birthday you expect to feel seventeen, but you don’t. You open your eyes and everything’s just like yesterday, only it’s today. And you don’t feel seventeen at all. You feel like you’re still sixteen. And you are – underneath the year that makes you seventeen.

 Like some days you might argue for the sake of being contrary – and on that day, maybe you’re just feeling fifteen. You might say something stupid, and that’s the part of you that’s still ten. Or maybe some days you might need to sit on your mother’s lap because you’re scared, and that’s the part of you that’s five. And maybe one day when you’re all grown up you will need to cry like you’re three, and that’s okay.

 Because being seventeen is kind of like an onion or like the rings inside a tree trunk or like my little wooden dolls that fit one inside the other, each year inside the next one. And maybe that will change next year, with my eighteenth year. But I doubt it because it didn’t happen at ten, or sixteen. And, to be honest, I don’t think I want to feel different. I want to age, year by year, and wake up feeling exactly how I’ve felt for the past 6205 days of my life. I want to be eighty years old and still remember what it was like to have twenty year old thoughts or a ten year old heart. 


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