you never can begin to live until you dare to die...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sixteen Going on Seventeen: My Apprehensions

I'm the first one to admit: Liesl Von Trapp (from the Rodgers and Hammerstein movie) is not my role model. Something about the way she sings, "timid and shy and scared am I of things beyond my ken," I think.

Nonetheless, I consider it my right, as a sixteen year old girl, to sing "I am sixteen going on seventeen to my heart's content... and maybe even a little more.

Despite the fact that I've sung it constantly all year, now that I only have four more days to do so in its most truthful sense, I feel cheated. It can't really have been a year, can it?

I turned sixteen at WA state TeenPact (shameless plug!) last year. All my cabin friends sang to me and surprised me with streamers. In the morning Ophie came into my cabin (we had to sleep in different cabins... it was tragic) and gave me a copious bag of Reese's and handed over a present bag that mom had instructed her to give me on my birthday morn. Starting a day off with presents is always good.

I was astonished to find a beautiful birthday cake waiting for me in the dining hall. Three of my fellow students (all male) came up to me very sweetly with a piece of said cake. It had large quantities of white frosting.

The boys offered me the cake so cordially that I was taken aback by their consideration. I took a bite and made a big deal over how scrumptious it tasted.

Later I found that I had disappointed the boys: they had dumped salt in the middle of the piece(which I hadn't eaten all the way... you can only have so much cake for breakfast) and I didn't "get" to taste it. Thank you, gentlemen. You know who you are.

Someone got up a group card and all the students signed, each leaving me a personal message. At the capitol, the entire group sang me happy birthday.

Mom came to pick Ophie (who was also attending TeenPact) and me up. I hooped in the car to find brightly frosted chocolate cupcakes, one for each of us. After lots of hugs (I hadn't seen my family in four whole days, mind you =D) we munched them down. Each one had a paper parasol and a decorative glass button. I think mine was a ladybug.

We returned from Olympia (and TeenPact) at around twilight. Rain was hitting the ground with the force unique to Washington drops.

I remembered feeling very... whimsical (Oh, Gray never feels whimsical), feeling that every moment is so precious. I felt old, which is, as LM Montgomery says, the first indication that you are actually very young. I didn't really wanted to leave fifteen behind, because fifteen seemed like a number with lots of extra growing room. Nonetheless, I was sure, to quote LM Montgomery again, that I was coming to "an epoch of my life" (needless to say, later in the evening I read my favorite passages of Little Women and even Anne of Green Gables. I'm afraid I'm in a sort of an "Anne" mood right now. My "Jo" spirit will come to me presently.)

So I went for a walk in the pouring rain and was otherwise sentimental. I wore my green trench coat and probably my cream beret. =D I won't bother telling the thought processes of a sentimental fifteen/sixteen girl taking a birthday walk in the pouring rain.

I still feel old. Seventeen feels big and ridiculous.

Twelve months ago I didn't think I could possibly grow into a number as big as sixteen. Now sixteen seems normal. I'm still not sure I want to grow into seventeen... but I don't really have much choice, do I? Now I know that I will grow into it, and then eighteen, and then nineteen.

Sixteen has been an adventure, which is about as good a thing as can be said about any year. I'll come up with a list of marvelous things (and hopeless misadventures) I've done at age sixteen when I'm in a list-y mood, but we've already established that I'm in an "Anne" mood.

Back off and let me revel in it. It hasn't happened in a while. =D

To finish the "Birthday day," I came back inside delightfully wet to find yet another cake. Gabby and Audrey and Ophie were all there. Dear, dear friends. We stayed up too late and watched Brigadoon. Good, good movie.

And I was sixteen. It was old.

Seventeen is old.

I just remember that LM Montgomery quote. When you feel that you are very old, it's a sure sign that you are actually very young.

I felt old last year and I feel old this year. It's okay.

9 comments:

Keilah said...

Aww! Poor Gray! I totally know how you feel. And I must say (even if it will make you more depressed), that 16 was WAAAAAAYYYYY better than 17.... Not that I fully know how 17 will be (I am 17 years 6 months, and 15 days. Isn't that cool? I found that out at the eye dr. yesterday! Who knew they kept those kinds of things around?). Anyway, I shall tell you next year how 17 really turned out.... but for now: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! (Did Ophe tell you what I said to Brennan at the work party?).

Haley said...

I know how you feel. :) Every year I feel like the next number is just too big, too old... but it still comes around, and usually for a month or so beforehand I am eagerly awaiting it. :) Happy, Happy Birthday!

Milli said...

17's pretty awesome. I mean, well...I've never been 17 before so I guess I wouldn't know. I've always thought that being 17 would be better than 16:]

Happy Birthday!

Peach said...

Hey, oldie! Don't worry, you're a goodie, too...! Ok, so that was pretty awful, but hey, whatever, right? Those of us senile creatures with one foot in the grave (to quote Jane Austen back atcha) have the right to make bad puns...am I not correct? Hey, I just want to let you know that having been there, 17's a pretty great age, too, y'know? Seriously, it's the one year between being able to drive, and becoming a legit adult... so you might as well use that to your advantage. (In the best possible way, of course! ;-) Besides, then when you get a class where all or most of your classmates are returning to college after 28 years, you won't feel old anymore! Trust me on that one... it's especially apparent when you walk out of the room, but stop to get a drink of water right outside the door, and you hear someone in the room stop to say "she's like crazy young, isn't she?", and the other person says "yeah, like all of twenty".... and you realize you're even younger than they all think. My conclusionary remarks are not as interesting as the rest, but i just figure that I want to say Happy Early Birthday, girl! Love you oodles! ---P

Autumn said...

Happy Birthday!!!!!
Wishing you all the best as you begin a year of bein 17.
Oh, crumbs!!! I just remembered I turn 17 in July!!! Boy, that IS a scary thought and age.
Okay that was random and weird Grey,
Happy Birthday!!1 (again lol)
Blessings
Autumn.

Calico Zak said...

Waitare you born on the forth of April. Cause I'm born on the sixth.

Danielle Elizabeth said...

I was just singing "Sixteen going on Seventeen" yesterday! And now, you have got me singing it again. :)
Anyway, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I wish I could give you advice on what it's like to be 17, but I just turned 16 last week, so I wouldn't be any help. :) I know you will make a wonderful 17 year old. I mean, you were an incredible 16 year old, so why wouldn't 17 be even better?
HAPPY, HAPPY BIRHTHDAY!!!
Love,
~ Danielle Elizabeth ~

Evergreena said...

Cheers! :)
I know EXACTLY how you feel. I feel that way every year. It's especially scary this year... 'cause I'm going to turn 20! Yipers!
C'mon, I still feel eighteen!! Actually, I sometimes still feel eleven, but that's another topic. :D
Ta-ta!
~Evergreena

Lady Blanche Rose said...

I've just been looking at my followers blogs, and I came across yours. I'm not sure why I haven't looked at it before! And you have Horatio Hornblower in your header! :D

Anyways, the reason I'm commenting on this particular post is that I know JUST how you feel! I'm turning 17 in about a week, and it feels so OLD! :P And I too have been realizing that I don't have too much time left to sing "16 Going on 17"!