For all the reasons twenty-four seemed scary at sixteen, it overwhelms me now that the dreaded year has brought with it bureaucracy once unforeseen.

I wake up each day feeling slightly hopeful and equally defeated, and before my day even begins, the defeat has succeeded.

There is a disconnect from myself and those with fake IDs, the ones whom are working half-heartedly for their general degrees.

They attempt to find a balance between work and play, and they date people that deep down they know will never stay.

They drink out of plastic cups and dress up for themed parties and a good night is measured by the craziness of their stories.

They stay up late and talk about various topics, and always seem to save enough for spring break in the tropics.

They try new things and change their minds frequently, 
and inevitably make mistakes that require discretion and secrecy.

They seek constant assurance from their friends, and they do their best to keep up with all the latest trends.

They have high hopes for their career, but they are still waiting for all the telling signs to appear.

Yet there is a more daunting gap between myself and those farther along, and it is hard to tell when exactly I will belong.

Those who put their money aside and plan for their futures, and consistently collect coupons and become devoted consumers.

They commute to work and abide the laws, and they often do it in pursuit of society’s applause.

They settle down and pay their taxes, they put away their bongs and adopt the behaviors established by the masses.

The ones who are too busy to even go on a run, eventually slow down and try to remember who they were before it had all begun.

Then the present takes hold of me once more, and I remember I am only twenty-four.

I am uncommitted and ultimately free, and that ideal image of my future self is still someone I can be.

I realize no decisions I have made thus far are set in stone, and no mistake was so grave that my chances for success are blown.

I have my health and my friends, and it is never too late for a mental cleanse.

There is time for changing and for learning, and no matter how many years pass I am always growing.

So when I wake up and despair creeps in, I remind myself that hope should win.

Then I drink my coffee and floss my teeth, but never lose sight of the child-like girl that exists underneath.

Despite passing years and lessons learned, there will never be wisdom that cannot be earned.

And when that daunting twenty-five comes around, I will be firm and stand my ground.

In the end twenty-four is not so bad, because my story has countless pages still to add.

Now with that all being said and done, I hope I never forget to have fun.


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About Author

Anna is an optimist with pessimistic tendencies who enjoys making a short story long, listening to soundtracks from musicals, and watching anything in the post-apocalyptic sci-fi genre. These days you can catch her learning about off-grid living and gardening the hard way, wandering with her partner and dogs through forest roads in a camper, or hiking to waterfalls or glacial lakes. You can also find her on YouTube at Anna and Ryan.

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