There are many landmarks in life and over time these landmarks keep shifting. Some of the Landmarks are for you but some are for others. When you were born, When you first smiled, when you first rolled over on your own, when you said your first word, when you took your first step, your first Birthday; all of which an individual has no real memory of.
But then slowly we build our memory. And some of the early landmarks are those that only some people remember and many don’t. When you graduated out of diapers, when you joined Daycare, graduated into Kinder, moved out of it and became a 1st grader. But then came things you remember more vividly, Your elementary school, Teachers, Your 13th Birthday celebrating the beginning of a Teen, middle school joining and graduating, High School, Your 16th, When you first wore a Sari (especially for the Indian side of you).
These are not the only ones and I am sure for you would have other memorable moments that you hold dear to you. Like your first crush on someone, the first kiss and so on which you as a person would always cherish and remember.
Some of the landmarks happen because we choose it to and some happen because it just happens. You did not have a choice to not turn 1 year old or 13 or 16 and now 18. Age is not something any of us have a choice on. It is our acceptance of the factor called time and its passing. But we do have a choice to make these moments memorable. And I hope as parents we have made the moments that you remember memorable for you.
Now for the Landmarks that we choose to have. It is even more important when you turn 18. 18 is the age when you are considered legally adult and it also opens your life to a lot of things starting with the world forcing you to act like one. I don’t know if it is good or bad. It is OK I guess, as long as you do not allow that child in you to wither off. And Adulthood should also not be a pressure and element of stress for you. Be a kid always and grow older with the kid in you alive, happy and excited.
Coming to choices, in one way you did not have a big choice on your schooling as you moved from one to another. But now you have your college and future learning where you have a lot of choices to make. What and Where and How. Though we will be there to support and help, it is at the end your decision that will weigh over ours. Along with that you will have decisions you will have to make in life where you will have to weigh your heart over your head. Don’t ignore what your heart yearns for and speaks to you, because happiness is in following your heart. The head will keep a check for you, so learn to balance.
For parents when they think their kid has turned 18 it is a big change as well, But I guess we are good as we have been giving you your share of decision making over the years. And we have seen you make most of the decisions regarding your life and I think we are proud that you have instilled that sense of comfort in us way before you turned 18.
I always think 18 is just a legal landmark, I don’t think something will dramatically change when you hit it. It could be more psychological. Some people might feel free if they have been restricted before. I hope we have not restricted you ever 🙂
I think it is not about freedom, but about being on your own to decide, some take it as freedom and some take it as the accountability and responsibility that comes with being 18. Once we have freedom we are all expected to be both responsible and accountable. We are not just talking about our lives any more but about others we engage with and the society we live in.
One of the proud things I feel when I look back at your pre-eighteen life is that I think you have been an extremely responsible person with that ability to be accountable and correct yourself when you found you made a wrong step. And at the same time looking out for people around you ensuring that you extend that support to others.
‘Support’ that is going to be a very important word in your life as you sail on. We live in such an interdependent world which is getting more and more connected every day and support, empathy, compassion all have more relevance than it had before.
I wish you a very great life ahead and Eighteenth birthday and want to let you know how much we all love you. Enjoy all the Landmarks in your life ahead and keep us apart of it as much as you can without being burdened and stressed out 🙂
And never be afraid of being wrong at least once on anything. Life is a journey from one err to another with a world of opportunities in between them to learn, correct, grow and advance. May be the goal could be in ‘Happy imperfections’ rather than in stressed out perfections.
Happy Birthday Rhea!! Happy 18th