18 is a big year. it's been described as many things. there's an unspoken expectation of the age. the days of cigarette butts, and late nights, and moving out. the age of freedom, of rebellion, of adulthood. the day we grow up. or so we think at the ripe age of 8. ten years, and then we'll be there; and then everything would change. perhaps we tell ourselves things would get better, or things would finally shift from the eternal grove of normalcy into something more... exciting.
as if the change of a number could ever really change who a person is.
i have a friend whose parents practically forced her out the day she turned 18. they did it "out of love". at least, that was the term they used, as they shut the door behind her. a clear end of the reality of everything she knew, of everything she'd come to call her own.
birthdays have always been strange for me. we celebrate the years of life lived, and receive many happy wishes for the years to come. gifts are exchanged, candles are lit and extinguished, the phone rings, the facebook notifications explode in well wishes, and kind words.
and at the end of the day? everything's still the same in my eyes. i'm a day older than i was yesterday, but people look at me differently. what never changed is the way i look at myself.
this morning, my parents took me out to breakfast. we sat in a little booth, and ate pancakes off a huge plate in the center of the table. three forks, two pancakes, one plate. the autumn sun created broken patterns on the table, with the view of the slowly transitioning maple and oak trees across the road from out the window.
they asked me what i want. not for my birthday, but for life. my answer? "i don't really know." maybe that's not exactly true. i know some of what i want.
i want love. i want adventure, spontaneity, the thrill of the unknown. i want to sit up late and write poetry, and fiction, and wake up early to the smell of coffee and the sight of pale sunlight across my pillow. i want the wild laughter of late night insanity, the quiet moments when the only sounds are the beating of my wandering heart, and the wind in the trees.
i want music. all kinds. the pounding of the drums that you feel in your chest like your heartbeat, and the quiet, trembling waver of tenuously plucked strings. i want words that catch in my throat when i speak them; words that repeat in my head when i read them, words that cling to my heart when i ponder them.
i don't know what i want tomorrow, or next week, or a year from now. i don't know where i'll be, who i'll be with, or what i'll be doing. and you know what?
that's totally okay.