Lessons From 18
Entertainment

Looking Back On 18

As I near my next orbit around the sun, here's what I've learned in the most transformative year of my life.

180
Casey Daly
Casey Daly

It's my eighteenth birthday and I spend it in a white marble kitchen with an island and everything, drinking warm Truly's with friends from high school. The air is warm and I'm happy. We sit in the backyard and listen to crickets for a while and I uber home alone in the dark with a birthday cake on my lap. I watch little bursts of Fourth of July fireworks erupt in the distance from the window of the backseat. I open the screen door and my mom's sleeping on the couch next to my little brother. My dad's still at work. I don't feel any different than I did the year before, but I have an overwhelming feeling that something big is coming soon.

I just turned eighteen and I'm stupid and I get big, silly, cartoon eyes when boys call me pretty. Before I know it, I begin my first year at a large university, end my long distance relationship, and start to notice college boys. I love their goofy smiles, their stubbly faces, the way their lives are unfinished like the half-read books they leave on their apartment floors.

I just turned eighteen and I've never met disappointment. I feel like the world is mine. I assume that everyone has a big heart. I believe that in six-or-so months I won't go back and cringe at most things I've written and tear up every notebook I've ever owned. I'm convinced that I hold significance in the world, that the universe somehow finds time in its schedule to care about me, that everything somehow happens for a reason and the things we experience are not senseless and random. I don't worry about taxes or getting kidnapped. I'm just beginning to think about my parents getting old.

I'm eighteen, I'm still stupid, and I feel like my life is some sort of screwed up Jenga game because the minute things start to come together, they fall apart all over again. I wake up early to put on makeup. I think that being better-looking will make me more loveable and I don't realize how sad that is. I go to the emergency room three times because of a pain in my chest I can't describe. I sit in lectures full of people and realize I'm much less important than I had previously thought. I sleep in some mornings to avoid the feeling. I'm eighteen and I'm hurting and I can't put a number on it.

I'm eighteen and a quarter and I use ID's that aren't mine most weekends. My breath still leaves my body for a moment every time. The bouncers grab my wrists like blood pressure cuffs, draw little black X's on my hands in warm Sharpie. I learn that college boys keep condoms within reach of the nightstand and have hearts that were broken long before I ever had the chance to come around. I find one with blonde hair, a Sox hat, and a red wristband standing over by the bar. I ask him if he can buy me a drink. I blow smoke into the air the way they do in the movies.

I'm eighteen and a quarter and I don't realize I'm too smart for him. I don't realize how many more of him I will meet. We walk back to his place because he tells me I'm funny. I'm eighteen and a quarter and I let boys get away with things when they're nice to me. We walk in the quiet and make shapes in the air with our frozen breath. He digs around for his keys in his pockets for a minute while I stare up at the icicles hanging from the gutter of his front porch. I wonder how they must glitter when the sun is shining and it's not three in the morning. I think about how I like the daytime version of myself much better than this.

I'm still eighteen and in a moment of complete impulse, I empty my entire bank account and fly to Canada with friends. We climb to the top of Mount Royale. I watch the sun fall down over a brand new snow-capped city, daydream about the lives of tiny people in office buildings and hot tubs and taxi cabs. At night, we go to this bar with metal cages and skateboarding pits and lots of European house music. I try to fall asleep on a pile of winter coats on the floor of a dorm room. I realize in my sleeplessness that there is more to the life I've known thus far: that boys and booze and fraternities and lecture halls only comprise of a small pocket of what I will eventually call the grand picture of my lifetime. We go for fresh tomatoes, brie, and mimosas in Atwater the next morning. I'm still eighteen and my parents hate me for wasting my life's savings on a trip to Canada. I win back my sanity in Montreal.

I'm eighteen and a half and there isn't really a defining moment where I realize I've been treating myself like shit, but clarity surely comes in waves. They're big waves. The Atlantic Ocean in November big. They are hard to accept but I learn how with time and patience. I trade mixed drinks for Corona Lights, quit smoking crappy weed. I stop beating myself up when my hair won't grow the way I want it to. I write a book. It's not anything special and I sort of hate it a few months later, but I still do it. I bring down my lofted bed because I keep falling from it. I work as a music writer. I do yoga in the living room, even when guests are over. I win back my own permission to exist. I promise myself that above anything else, kindness remains of utmost importance

I'm eighteen and three quarters and I spend the last bits of the semester napping in the sunshine, reading great books in wet grass, filling my belly with ice cream, and riding bikes around campus with friends. I'm eighteen and three quarters and I still don't know much, but at least I come out of this year alive. My days slowly develop into better versions of the ones before. My grades suck moderately and I delay the reality of coming home for the summer, but the pains in my chest slowly leave me. I learn to unclench my fists and relax my jaw when I sit still. For the first time in my life, I think I am happy with myself.

I'm almost nineteen now and I don't worry the way I used to. I laugh out loud when I realize everything I own fits in the back of my dad's car. We've always been road trip people, my family and I. There's something quite peaceful about sitting on your ass for a few hours, watching the windmills fade into little white dots, sipping a gas station Arizona and being unavailable for a small moment in time. I fall asleep in the passenger seat.

I'm just about nineteen and I find time so funny. I find it funny how we've all been told since the second grade to manage it wisely. I find it funny how we organize and transcribe the time we are given onto paper: how we create photo albums and planners and birthday parties as if time and what it has in store for us can be grasped and molded at our convenience. I'm almost nineteen and this year I've learned that time isn't for us to control. I've learned that life is simply unpredictable and just sucks sometimes, yet I hope it never ceases to be this way. Here's to another year of being young, and just a little bit less stupid. Cheers.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Swoon

119 People Reveal How The Pandemic Has Affected Their Love Lives, And Honestly... Relatable

"I haven't been able to get out of the 'talking phase' with anyone."

The reality is, there's no part of life the pandemic hasn't affected. Whether it's your work life, your home life, your social life, or your love life, coronavirus (COVID-19) is wreaking havoc on just about everything — not to mention people's health.

When it comes to romance, in particular, people are all handling things differently and there's no "right way" of making it through, regardless of your relationship status (single, taken, married, divorced, you name it). So, some of Swoon's creators sought out to hear from various individuals on how exactly their love lives have been affected since quarantine began.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

Preview These Top Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2020 Picks — From Luxury Purses To Skincare

Currently 3 million people viewing the Stella McCartney purse I absolutely must have.

Online shopping has been a guilty pleasure of ours for years, but now more than ever it's been a shopping lover's outlet for all our home redecorating projects and resort wear we're purchasing for that trip we had to cancel.

One of my favorite places to (virtually) window shop has always been Nordstrom. I admittedly can't afford to go on sprees there often, but I still get a high off of adding things to my cart I know I'll never actually end up buying. But sometimes, that's not enough — that's when I, like the masses of luxury-, beauty-, fashion-, and decor-lovers around the world count the days down to the annual Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Things That 'Shameless' Got Wrong About Bipolar Disorder

There is so much more than Ian and Monica lead viewers to believe.

"Shameless" is a hit television series that airs across the world, for my own personal viewing on Netflix. While the show is a major hit, people aren't talking about the issues in the portrayal in the "mental health" category. Ian and Monica are both pretty important characters with bipolar disorder (BD). There are, however, five major flaws with what their bipolar looks like.

Keep Reading... Show less

Dear Grandma,

I wish my words could adequately explain how much I miss seeing your smile and hearing your laugh. You were such a bright ray of sunshine in my life and now that you're gone, I can't help but remember all the times we had together.

Keep Reading... Show less

Rihanna is known for many things: her music, fashion, makeup, and now skincare. As a makeup artist myself, I can confidently say that she rocked the makeup world when she released her makeup line in 2017 and has been influencing the beauty world ever since.

Trying some of her makeup products myself, I know that she doesn't skimp on quality, and even though some of her products may be a little pricey, trust me, you get what you pay for.

Keep Reading... Show less

Friends, no one needs to be reminded that the COVID-19 pandemic rages on in the U.S. Frankly, this is because we have all collectively decided not to do the one simple thing that was asked of us and wear a mask.

I could make this a very boring article, and berate you with facts and statistics and the importance of wearing a mask, but I have opted against that for both of our sakes. Instead, I will attempt to reach you in another way. You might not care about a disapproving look from me, but from Nick Miller? Maybe that will be enough to change your mind.

Keep Reading... Show less

I don't want to point fingers or call anyone out, but it seems as though since the school year came to a close and summer officially started, more and more people began to care less and less about coronavirus (COVID-19).

I understand that eventually you have to get on with your life and cannot live in isolation forever, but people are still dying, cases are still increasing, and COVID is clearly not going anywhere for the time being.

Keep Reading... Show less

Bombshell news coming from Bachelor Nation today, Tayshia Adams is replacing Clare Crawley as the bachelorette!

Rumor has it that Clare found her person early on in the process and did not want to continue with the process of leading other men on throughout the season.

Keep Reading... Show less

- Though as a little girl, I had the silkiest, softest hair that would get compliments everywhere I went, since I turned about thirteen I've since had coarse, dry hair no amount of deep conditioning masks or sulfate-free shampoo could fix.

- I started using the Raincry's Condition Boar Bristle Brush several months ago, and while I noticed that my hair had been softer, silkier, and shinier than it had ever been, I didn't make the connection because I never thought a simple hairbrush could make any difference in my hair texture.

- I will be the first to admit that I thought it was ridiculous to spend nearly a hundred dollars on a hairbrush, but this one eliminates the need for me to use any heat tools or styling products on it.

- I put some oil or a serum in my hair when it's wet, brush my hair with the boar bristle brush once it's dry, and end up with the lowest maintenance, shiniest hair I've had since I was 8 years old.

@raincrybeauty

Keep Reading... Show less

The NBA is back, and for basketball fans, like myself, it has been the BEST news we have heard since COVID-19 shutdown play indefinitely. I mean, come on, we need to see if James Harden can once again perform so well he has back-to-back 50 point games, Kawhi can lead another team to the championship title, and whether Giannis is going to be back-to-back MVP... among like 500 other things running through our heads!

In the midst of all of the amazing statistics and records that these players are breaking, though, we also just love the NBA because well, there are some pretty good looking guys out there. Here are the 19 hottest NBA players (in no particular order) you would totally let slam dunk on you now that the NBA has returned.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments