My Thoughts On Turning 21 & Perspectives On Life Thus Far

When I was a little kid, in first or second grade, I remember thinking how enormous middle schoolers were. I thought they were practically adults at that age. Then a funny thing happened. I got to eigth grade and everyone in my grade made comments about just how little the incoming sixth graders were that year. The thing was, though, they weren’t getting smaller, we were getting bigger. By my senior year of high school, the incoming freshmen looked like a bunch of little shrimp.

Isn’t it funny how our perception of things changes over time? We always think we’re done growing, but don’t realize until later just how much farther we had to go until later on and we see the just how small we were, both figuratively and literally. Today, July 1, 2009, is one of those days. I turned 21. I’m just gonna sit for a second and let that sink in.

I think this day far surpasses both my eighth grade and senior year experiences, because this time, I’m not looking back on grade school. I’m measuring a turning point in my life.

If I thought middle schoolers were big when I was eight or nine, you better believe someone who was 21 seemed like they had been on the earth forever. The older I get though, the more I realize just how quickly time passes. I know I’m still very young, but with this birthday, even though I’ve been 20 for a year, I feel more like a “twenty-something” a less of a teenager. I think my transition from being a teen to being an adult took place over this past year, and I have mixed feelings about that.

I know I spend too much time doing business-related things and doing things like networking that adults much older than myself typically participate in, but the fact is I’m passionate about the business I’ve started and making it succeed. I just don’t know sometimes if I should just focus more on being a college student and having fun and less on the type of business stuff that I’ll no doubt have the rest of my life to do. It’s a delicate balance and I’m still trying to find it.

Working for yourself from home does have its advantages, though. One day a friend called me up when I was in the middle of a website and asked if I wanted to go to the river. Not having any boss to ask but myself, I jumped in my car and headed down to Belle Isle. I guess I just wish I was more spontaneous like this more often. When you’ve already got the snowball effect of several elements of a growing business, though, it’s tough to stop it or even slow it down.

I had an interesting thought the other day while talking with Edna, an 83-year-old that I’ve become good friends with up at Daily Grind. She comes in every day. She’s as spry and sharp as can be and still enjoys life to the fullest. She’s also willing to learn new things. I’m showing her how to use her laptop and check her email in the picture (credit: Bill Bangham).

I thought she would feel as if her life had been a long journey, but was surprised to find out just how quickly she thought it had passed. I think her perspective is what gave me my new outlook on the value of time. In what she thought was a short life of 83 years of her life so far (which still feels like lightyears away to me, being that I’m in my early twenties) she’s done a lot and I can tell she feels like she’s lived a good life thus far.

I only hope that I can be the same way and have a life I can look back on at her age and smile at all I’ve done. I’m still young and have more dreams and plans than I can shake a stick it. It’s time to achieve them while still remembering to live up my youth while I’m still young. This year’s gonna be a year of finding the balance. Right now, though, it’s time to celebrate!

Join the discussion 11 Comments

  • George says:

    Happy birthday!

    Love the article, and that’s awesome that you’ve built your business as much as you have at such an early age.

    I think you have the advantage of youth on your side to be able to balance work and life. I’m only 5 years older, but beginning to feel I work far too much, and starting to feel (and look..grey hair, eesh!) way older than I am. I find the timing interesting, that just 5 minutes before reading this article, I got an email from may dad telling me I work too much, and need to slow down.

    And that’s really why I’m leaving this comment: I can’t remember the last time I took a break to go to the proverbial river. I’m a freelancer, I make my own schedule, but why don’t I do that anymore? I think there’s a tendency among the (successfully) self-employed to focus on business, and let everything slip by the wayside. We keep telling ourselves “the deadline is this friday!” and never stop to think that we were the ones that set that overly aggressive deadline. And I for one know that the idealistic teenager I was that led to me entering the freelance life would be screaming at me right now, “Life is more than a series of deadlines!”

    Maybe it’s time I let him be heard…after this next deadline.

  • Interesting observations. I think thats a tad silly. 21 is a very young adult person. I just turned 30 not long ago, and I consider myself young. When I was a little kid, 30 year olds never seemed old to me, just really mature. I never though of middle schoolers as adults, lol. I guess its because I'm the youngest of 5 children and my oldest sister is almost 19 years older than myself. 21 is so young, enjoy your youth!

  • knitsbyliz says:

    Great message, Trevor! You're a fantastic writer. Next post, please!

  • Turning 21 says:

    Congratulations Trevor! You have good ideas on what turning 21 would mean. Enjoy your freedom at the same time be responsible.

  • C. Elbert says:

    Congratulations Trevor, it's so wonderful to see and read all about a former student of mine. By the way it's your 7th grade social studies teacher from Short Pump. I ran across your article "history with a passion" and decided to look you up. Keep up the excellent work… Ms. Elbert-Pollock. Enjoy your summer!

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