Of A Certain Age

Of A Certain Age

On July 16th, I will be turning 20.

In less than two weeks, I’ll be passing my teen years by. What a ride it’s been. The ages of 13 through 19 drug me through my last year of middle school, the four years of high school, and two years of college. I’ve accomplished both so much and so little in that time. There have been days that I have wasted, and there have been days on which I’ve used my God-given talents for good.

I wanted to sell more stories before I hit 20. And I wanted to write more in general. But, alas, I got the better of myself. My control over getting paid is slim, but I could have written more, and I could have improved at a greater clip. Far too many days have passed by with me dancing around what I wanted to accomplish without making enough of those working hours writing hours and without spending enough hours on important work.

Not too long ago, I thought I knew what I wanted to do “when I grew up.” Even at 20-minus-several-days, I don’t think that I’m “grown up” in the same sense that the common phrase carries. Perhaps I’ve been left behind by some of my peers in important ways. I’ve never held an official job. I can kind of do laundry and cook, but I don’t have a lot of experience with the activities. My skills are scattered, and while many of them may be useful, they don’t necessarily sum to sufficiency. Alliteration, for instance, can only bring you so far.

That job I had envisioned myself having? I wanted to be an editor for a major fantasy and science-fiction imprint. Virtually all such jobs, at least at the lower levels, require one to live in New York City. I didn’t think it would be a bad prospect then, living in NYC, but I’ve since disillusioned myself. I don’t want to live in New York City. I’m not even sure if I’d like to live in any city. My home, where I have lived for almost 15 years, lies three-quarters of a mile back a dirt road from a U.S. route, upon which one travels about a mile to get to a borough of around 400 people. Stoystown, PA is my kind of borough, not Manhattan.

In certain ways, I scattered myself for about two and a half years, up until sometime this May. Even now, I’m not quite as together and productive as I could be, but I’ve seen good improvement. Don’t get me wrong, I did well when I needed to on many things throughout that period of slack. Yet it had always seemed that I was dropping more stones than I was keeping in the air.

Since Memorial Day, give or take a day, I’ve written around 11,000 words to a novel. I haven’t had a novel draft of that length since my original try at a novel back in middle school. Writing for The Odyssey Online has gotten me back into some sort of rhythm with blogging, a rhythm I’ve had infrequently since October of 2014. My practice on the mandolin has suffered for multiple reasons over the past year, but a week or so ago I finally tuned it up after leaving it sit for two months, playing it only a few times in that duration, untuned. Coming back fully will take some work. I also have a uke and an electric guitar, and it has been these instruments, though mainly the uke, that has held me together when I wasn’t playing my mando. I’d like to get into a good rhythm with all three of them in the coming days. With reading, my summers have been faring better than the school year every time around, but this year, I’m making decent headway. At the very least, I think I’ve been reading and listening to audiobooks at a better speed than was the case last summer. While I’m far from the paradigm of productivity in the modern day, I’ve been improving as I watch the clock tick closer to my 21st year of life.

I’m coming up on a certain age in a certain age of the world. Concepts of productivity, work, and careers are a little different now than in prior times. We are expected to do much and to do much less-neat fitting activity. My responsibilities are growing ever upward with time right now, and I’m trying to keep up with them. Maybe I haven’t been trying my very best. But I must. “With great power comes great responsibility.” I must be the 20-year-old man I ought to be.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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How To Have a Safe and Memorable Prom 2018

The season is upon us

Spring is upon us and it is the time of year where high school boys and girls go out of their way to plan the perfect night. But what constitutes the perfect night for a 16 and 17 year old? Well, it always depends on the person, but I can definitely say there are only a few ways to guarantee safety and a good time. Prom is a rite of passage and should be treated as such.

Keep communication open. When you are going out as a group of teenagers, your parents tend to want to know where you are and what you are doing. This is not a ploy for control, but better yet a way to make sure you stay safe and come home alive. We live in a world where getting 'lit' is more important than maintaining a level of responsibility. So in short, keep your parental units updated on any change of plans or locations for the night.

Do not drink underage. Seriously, you can have a good time without alcohol. Don't spike the punch or try to bring in flasks. This for one is illegal but also unsafe. Some people drive themselves to and from and unsuspecting patrons would not take kindly to a DUI or death of anyone else. This includes the use of drugs. Just do not do it.

Go as a group. If you are trying to decide whether or not to go stag, with a date, or in a group, I highly suggest going as a group. You can always ditch the dance and go bowling after a few songs anyway. As long as you remember to remind your parental units. You will make many memories and save tons of money carpooling

Eat light before the dance. You do not want to be feeling sick while getting down at the dance, or want your clothes feeling tight and uncomfortable. After all you just spent a fortune on that dress and your makeup took forever. Eat light and non messy. Then after the dance IHOP or Waffle House, whatever after prom tradition you have to live.

Do not let petty drama ruin your night. Prom is a very important night but it can sometimes turn into a teenage drama fest if you let some things get to you. Have a good tie being you and having a good time with your friends.

No one can promise a perfect night, but you can always have a good time with what is given to you. So go out, be free, have a fantastic time and remember: BE SAFE.

Cover Image Credit: Pinterest

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21 Things I've Learned By 21

16.) You'll never be too old to call your mom for help.

My 21st birthday is on March 23rd so I decided to make a list of the 21 things I have learned in the last 21 years! Enjoy!

1.) Know EXACTLY what you want and don't settle for anything less.

2.) Focus more on learning how to love yourself.

3.) It is okay to cut toxic people out of your life.

4.) Every now and then, step out of your comfort zone, it will always make for something great.

5.) Make decisions fast, the universe loves speed, even if you don't.

6.) Find what you love and let it kill you.

7.) Timing has a lot to do with everything in this world.

8.) Always tell your friends and family that you love them because tomorrow is never promised.

9.) Pay more attention to your thoughts, they mean more to you than you realize.

10.) Your feelings are ALWAYS valid, don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

11.) Stop making time for people that don't make time for you.

12.) Not everyone is going to like you, and that's okay.

13.) Give it your all or don't give it at all.

14.) You've already survived 100% of your bad days.

15.) Failing is okay, only as long as you learn from your mistakes.

16.) You'll never be too old to call your mom for help.

17.) Surround yourself with people who support you, you deserve that.

18.) When words fail, music speaks.

19.) If you think of something, do it, or someone else is going to.

20.) You're never too important to be nice to people.

21.) Life is so much better when nobody knows what you're up to.

I've learned a lot in my short 21 years of life and I'm only excited to see what else I learn in the years to come. Bring on 21!

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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