Ever since turning 18 last month, a golden year was approaching me. I had an array of thoughts circling my mind on the universal thought that “age is just a number” is hypocritical and self-loathing of today’s pop culture phenomenon. Whether we turn 16, 18, or even the mid-life age of fifty, it all condenses down to just a number.
When I turned 18, I pondered about the plethora of things I can do – such as getting a tattoo, voting to even buying a lottery ticket. The false image that we thrive upon in the media causes us to turn into people we are not meant to be. Society has created endless ways to remind us that age is just a number and that solely should determine the actions we take and the person we want to be. But society also reminds us that age is purely just a number, two digits, nothing more nothing less. Half full or half empty how we choose to perceive our age is essential for achieving those aspirations.
One thing that stood out from turning 18 was learning to take on greater responsibilities; learning how to navigate the bridge from being a young teenager to the age where it is finally legal to do things in my own way. I learned to improve each day and learn new things, especially focusing on drawing and art during the month of March. I noticed myself viewing my age as just purely what it was, a number. It did not stop me from doing the things I kept doing when I was 13 or 17. The notion that comes from society is that turning 18 means moving out right away, but for me it was a reminder of my growth and became a milestone for my life. Often times, people are constantly caught up defining their age by the actions they take. While it pertains to a certain degree, it should not hold you back from doing what you love and becoming the person you want to be. There may be restrictions like not having the time or energy to do so, but do not solely let that guide you onto the wrong path. Let your actions and goals define you age and do not let the fear of holding back let you from ever being the person you want to be.
My photography teacher, Mr. Zamlich, whom I recently wrote an article about, says that “nothing, let alone age, should get in the way of your aspirations.” Mr. Zamlich believes that “one of the biggest factors of a detoured goal is listening to negative people around you who say you can’t accomplish anything.” The goals we constant want to achieve are always being backfired by the opinions of those bringing us down. Age should not let anyone get into a mindset of limiting yourself because in the end you would never know what greatness you could have achieved. Whether it is as insignificant as the rays of light making it way to the sunrise, I believe that as long as you put into perspective what truly matters to you – relationships, marriage, love, friendship, etc, you can never lose sight.
I was glad to reach out to one of my close friends, Gennine Lagman, a senior at Clark Magnet High School, who told me her opinion on the saying “age is more than just a number.” Both Lagman and I turned 18 this year and she believes that people “should be open to all the possibilities that life presents them.” Lagman believes that we all have the determination to strive for greatness, the goals we set for ourselves “might be hard, but worth it in the end.”
Now picture this.
Imagine all the goals you set for yourself in your life displayed as photographs in your mind. The ones you have managed to achieve shine brightly, filled with color and emotion. And the ones you may have given up on that is lifeless, and discolored, but still full of hope. Focus on the things that matter to you, hold onto those who strive for your success, and do let the fear ever hold you back. I dare you to set any goal no matter how big or small and remember, “Nothing should get in the way of your aspirations.”