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Almost Twenty

I can't believe I can say I remember stuff that happened fifteen years ago. Just like when my parents or grandparents tell a story of their youth. At nineteen, you're not really a teenager anymore, but it really doesn't hit you until you're the big 2-0. You're friends and family joke that you're becoming an old man, but inside you believe it's true.

When you're five, you can't wait to be ten. When you're ten, you can't wait to be thirteen. When you're thirteen, sixteen is the big mile stone. Sixteen isn't enough for you, even though you can grow a full beard like your dad, you can't wait to be eighteen and graduate. Once you graduate, there's only one more birthday you look forward to. That would twenty-one of course. But here I am, nineteen, and I feel like an old man already. Sure, when I tell older people I'm old, they always smirk and say "Young man, you don't know old". I wish I believed them, but I do not.

Well here I am, nineteen, graduated, driving, working, and the thickest beard you can imagine. You know what else? I'm balding already too. Yes, sir, I am becoming just like my father. I'll be twenty before long. Like your parents tell you, it goes by fast. It really does. Soon you'll start to gray, every bone and muscle in your body will start to ache, and the only thing you'll have left of your youth are those old stories no one but you and your old high school chums will reminisce every six months or so when the "gang" is back together. You're probably already doing it with your close friends: "Remember that time when....". Sound familiar?

It'll be off to college for most of you. There, you will meet the love of your life. You'll get married and have a kid or two. Then three or four years later, you'll be battling for custody. It's a sad truth. Then you'll meet the real love of your life. You won't make the mistakes twice. With them, you'll be married forever.

Before you know it, you'll be telling little Alice she can't go out tonight because her grades are slipping in algebra. She'll yell at you, she'll tell you she hates you, and that she wants to live with Mom. She'll slam her door and call her best-friend and tell her she has the worst dad ever. Sound familiar? Little Alice will graduate high school with honors, you'll be so proud. She'll go to college and meet the love of her life, have a kid or two.....You know where this will end up.

When your grandchildren get to the age you are now, they'll joke and say you're like 297 years old and born in 1903. Then you'll tell them "Wait 'til you're my age, kid. Then you'll see". Then that shock will come to you because you remember being told that. All those years ago when you thought you were untouchable. You thought you'd never age. We never do. Excuse me for the cliché, but youth is a gift. Most of us decide it's a horrible phase of our lives and wish we were older. Many of you still think that way.

Well, here I am nineteen, graduated, driving, working, the thickest beard you can imagine, balding, aching, reminiscing, and old age sneaking up on me like that time you and Billy snuk up on old Ms. Johnson's house and egged it.





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