Age 21 — The Big Year

It’s my birthday today!! I turn 21 — Hard to imagine. I find myself in a resting moment of peace heading to school. I tried not to tell people that I was turning 21 however let us see how long that lasts!! It is 40 degrees outside and I am cold even though I took my shower this morning and put on clean clothes and deodorant. Okay, perhaps a little too much TMI there although I do like to provide details.

Today, I start my 21st year of living. I have nothing to do rather than go to classes, finalize my assignments that I have to hand in and go to dinner with my parents. Everything seems ready to go. I would not be me if I was not just a little nervous about having to run around like a crazy person doing last minute projects; rather all seems to be in place, so I will take advantage of this “relaxation before the storm.”

21 years!! – When did that happen? I do not know if I am more astonished that 21 years  have flown by or that I am still here after 21 years. Now, do not let that last statement upset you because it is nothing more than an obvious observation: 21 years of life is a long time in this day and age. I did not believe that in 1995 I thought 21 years of age would be my “last stop.” Frankly, I do not believe that when I was younger, I thought anything other than

How do I survive my first day as a human being on this planet?”

Then, I would ask myself this question on the first day of elementary school, middle school and high school … and then college!

A dear friend of mine once called me “loyal to a fault.” It was, and quite frankly, still is the most accurate assessment of my nature. When something in my life “works,” I stick with it to the end – bitter or sweet. People do ask though why I have not moved on to “bigger and better things.”

Well, there are multiple reasons for this and I will not delve into them because each would require a magnitude of explanation for those out there who do not understand the “nature of the beast” (referring to my life – and everyone has this to them). I will just offer a blanket statement: I know my demons here and THAT is reason enough.

So how does someone like me measure 21 years of life?

Well, given I am so sick and tired of seeing how our society makes people attracted to meaningless practices and ways of life, I wanted to find a perspective that might help us find a reason to truly move away from the trappings of being consumer-workers, especially in the greed-driven U.S. For an example, if I live to be 85 years old (life expectancy in the U.S. is 78 and the highest in the world is 89 in Monaco, lowest being 49 in Chad — so I am being fairly optimistic by choosing 85), I will live for 31,046.25 days. Childhood is amazing, rather it lasts 21 years or 7,665.5 days. This means that adulthood, should I live to 85 years old is 71 years long or 25,915.75 days. Let us consider that in our adulthood, we have the most potential to make the world a better place – which is not to say that children do not have potential. We are, more or less, given 25,000 days to make those contributions if we live that long.

Well that is certainly one way to measure 21 years … Although how about we do it another way?

Trips to Boston, playing various shows, family dinners, getting accepted to college, graduating high school, watching my writings become published, research projects, making Anthony laugh during my private lessons, successful college performances, family celebrations, having a nice girlfriend.

I am so sure that I missed a bunch of other momentous occasions but these seem to stand out as the most significant milestones. … or are they? I feel like I am missing something.

Anyway, in my life (as everyone knows): I have loved them all …

I have been asked a few times already, and I am sure I will be asked the same question many more times as the year unfolds: “What is your favorite moment from the last 21 years?” For me, it is not an event or occurrence or any singular moment in time. It is that in all my time here, there has been ONLY one other constant: My parents. Many people can claim a love such as ours. Twenty one years of growth and understanding are all based upon the same philosophical point of view. I think my parents and I are in some pretty good company.

What will the next 21 years bring? Wait – Are you kidding me??? Let me aim for 12 or 15 at the most because my eventual goal is to finish off my years as a teacher and principal and grab the doctorate and run to higher education! I could end my career at a nice quiet retirement beach house near Father Ron and Brother Charles, okay? (Hoping they are still alive). What is in store for the rest of the journey of live until retirement arrives is not for us or me to say, nor to guess.

Wherever the road takes me is where I will go. However, if the last 21 were any “excerpt” indication of what the last time of my life will be like —- I think we are in for quite a wild ride!!

So everyone, what was the point of how I measured 21? Simple: Use your days learning, staying open, and really unentrenched. 25,000 days of being a true contributor is a long time. I have around 25,000 or more (hopefully) days to go.

Knowing that is not a morbid perspective for those who are not “deep thinkers.” Just knowing that gives me a sense of purpose and focus. It is that purpose and focus that we need to find in life so we can set out to achieve more than what we were put on this earth to bargain for. I have learned this; hopefully, you can learn it too. Each day, I want to contribute. I will never be done …

Not to mention, it is  4 days left until I get to go to the casino with mom and dad and Alicia for the first time ever!! Happy birthday to me!! I love you forever and ever mommy and daddy – and yes, my sister too.

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