I’m working on it: Milestones


By Amanda Lee, Web columnist

I have some exciting news to share: I am now seventeen years old! I can watch rated-R movies by myself now!  I’m not telling you that I had my birthday so that I can fish for compliments and “Happy belated Birthdays” (though I won’t discourage you if you feel the desire to toss these my way). I want to talk about milestones.

My birthday is in the middle of the year, September 3, right around Labor Day weekend and in the middle of the school year. I don’t usually make a big deal out of birthdays. I’m not big on planning parties, and I’m a homebody who can’t be paid to leave her house.

For me, birthdays consist of making brownies with my sister, lighting candles with my family and having brownies and ice cream with them as we watch a movie I picked out at home. That is my birthday tradition, going strong for about five years now.

This year though, things were different. I realized that the next time I celebrate my birthday, I won’t be at home.  I won’t be able to blow out my candles as my parents take a picture. I won’t be able to bake brownies with my sister and lie down in my living room to watch a movie I picked out with my family.

I’ll be in college, in a dorm room without an oven or a television. I’ll be on my own. That sounds like a ‘duh’ statement, as in “Well, duh! Amanda, where did you think you’d be next year?” I guess I hadn’t thought it through all the way.

When I was a kid, all I wanted to do was grow up. I wanted to be taller, wear bigger shoes, go to college, fall in love, get a boyfriend, get married, have a car, own a house, and maybe even start a family. I wanted to be older, wiser, and ever taller. Now, I’m older, a little wiser, and somewhat taller, and all I can think is where did the time go?

I used to be so sure of myself. I used to feel confident that I’d be okay leaving the nest, that I was completely ready to move out and start life on my own. Now though, I’m not so sure. I can’t imagine life outside Maui even though I used to spend my days dreaming about leaving.

As I blew out my candles to the last brownie cake my parents would make for me at home, my mom took my last at-home birthday picture and told me that this was one of the last milestones. That’s when it really hit me–that in 9 short months, I won’t be living at home. The idea that everything is changing is surreal and, for the first time, scary.

One more milestone. I suppose in the grand scheme of things, that’s life: a path full of milestones that we all reach…eventually.

For now, I’ll enjoy my brownie cake, enjoy my family, and make the most of the here and now. Heck, maybe I’ll even take in an R-rated movie…but maybe not. Now that my adulthood is, for the first time, staring me right in the face, I may have changed my mind. I might not want to grow up so quickly after all.