Eighteen Years Old.
Does anyone else remember what it was like to turn eighteen years old?
There are some days when it feels like yesterday.
And days like today, where it feels as though it must have been an eternity ago.
Today, my oldest child turned eighteen.
How in the world did that happen?
I’ve already written about the day that my eyes first gazed into the eyes of my firstborn child. I wrote that post when he turned sixteen.
About him, I’ve shared my observations on having a tall child. (he’s 6’6″)
I’ve recognized the slow release of motherhood.
I’ve marveled at that space between child and man.
There are days when I thought this moment might never arrive and others when I wanted to push away the hands of time…to hold them in their place…to fight the passage of these fleeting moments.
Yet, time still kept moving forward. We have arrived at that moment when in the eyes of the law, my son is a grown man. This moment when he owns every future decision that he makes.
And I am taken back to my own year of being eighteen.
For me, eighteen was a year of so many choices.
It was a year of love…and a year of heartbreak.
A year of finding a piece of me…and a year of losing a piece of me.
It was full of adventure and exploration.
A time of meeting new people. A time of feeling like I knew the world.
It was also the year that I would have my first experience with an anxiety attack. I finished up my degree at the community college a few months after I turned eighteen, and not knowing what I wanted to be when I grew up, I took a break and got a full-time job. Even though I had been working since the age of fourteen, this was my first grown-up job.
I was hired while my future boss was on medical leave. It’s possible that she resented this fact. I don’t really know, but it was apparent she didn’t care for me. I remember being written up for a job I didn’t complete. A small job that she had apparently forgotten that she had switched to somebody else’s responsibility because I was still doing all other parts of my job, cross-training in another of her departments, fixing six months of errors caused by someone else, and training a new person for the old person’s job.
There were other moments…but you get the idea.
After some time at the job, I also got a part-time job in the evenings. One day, I was having tingling in my lips and down my arm and into my fingertips. I called my doctor, thinking perhaps it was a reaction to a medicine. He told me to come over and after checking me out, he had me breathe into a paper bag. That was when he told me that I was in a constant state of low-level hyperventilation.
I moved beyond that phase.
I still deal with anxiety, but I’ve learned coping mechanisms over the years.
Slowing down my breathing is usually the first one I employ.
I don’t know what the future holds for my eighteen-year-old.
He still has a lot to learn about himself.
But he seems to know himself better than I did at eighteen.
…and that makes my heart so happy.
Let your light shine!