We identify ourselves with how many years we have been alive. In often cases, saying "I'm __ years old." Can be more important than saying "My name is __." We truly become our age and revolve everything about our lives around it.
When we turn 5, we start school. When we turn 16, we can drive. When we turn 18, we can vote. When we turn 21, we can drink, and so on and do forth. We age every year and though we may celebrate, we are just counting to the next milestone. We don't have a "Sweet 12th Birthday." We may celebrate but we are just waiting for the next milestone. That's why, when we turn 19, there is no crazy celebration. We don't hype up that year.
Turning 18 is awesome because we become legal adults. We celebrate that. Turning 20 is a big deal because it is our first birthday when we are no longer a teenager. And of course, 21 is everyone's favorite. With all that celebration, we seem to forget and almost dread the year 19.
I am 19 years old myself. When I turned 19, I noticed and vocalized how "boring" and "inconvenient" being 19 is. It is just a transition year, I thought. Nothing is exciting about being 19. But then I got to thinking: Shouldn't we say we are excited? Shouldn't we celebrate every age?
19. This is where I am. This is where some of you are. This is where some of you have been. And this is where some of you will be. We need to embrace it. We need to recognize why this year, the 19th year of life, is so important.
There is a lot of growing up that happens from 19 to 20. You are a legal adult and have been for a year. These responsibilities start to catch up to. 19 can be so different for everyone. For some, like myself, 19 is year two of college. It is rediscovering yourself and learning and growing and making mistakes, but learning from them. For some, 19 means motherhood. You may be young but you can handle this. You have been blessed with life and it is time to be who you are and raise a human being that you created to be just as amazing as you. And for others, 19 is your last year. Some people will be tragically taken from this world, and that is not fair. We never know when our last year will be.
One last, however, is inevitable. 19 is your last year as a teenager. 19 is really the year we say goodbye to our childhood. We did it. We grew up. We made mistakes, we learned. We did such incredible things. 19 is amazing. You only have 365 days to be 19, so let's make all 365 as incredible as we are as people. Because that is something special.