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Four Years at the Mount

Sophomore year

Life is short: live and love

Angela Tongohan
Class of 2020

(8/2017) Just last October, I turned eighteen. Eighteen is a big year. Itís the first year where I am legally considered an adult. I can join the army, I can get a tattoo, I can buy a pack of cigarettes. I was exposed to a handful of opportunities and options that I did not have when I was younger.

However, eighteen felt no different from seventeen, or sixteen, or anything younger. At least, it didnít for me.

The truth of the matter is that age is just a number. And whether I be eighteen or anything under, I am still looked upon as young. I am young. Too young to understand the real problems going on in the world, at least, thatís what many in older generations (including my mother) believe.

And on some level, it is true. I am eighteen but I am still cared for by my parents. They pay my tuition; they pay for my car. They give me money for food, clothes, or anything else my brain may temporarily want. I have the lowest possible amount of responsibility, yet I still find ways to get frustrated or angry when things donít go my way.

Now, I am not saying that all eighteen-year-olds are going through the same experience. I am fully aware that there are many eighteen-year-olds that are forced to grow up and mature far before they are ready or should need to. But as someone who has enjoyed "adulthood" the same way as I have enjoyed childhood, I feel I have realized quite a few things about the world.

First things first: It is okay to be childish. Not in the sense of pettiness or baby-like actions, but rather in the way we enjoy life. It is okay to give importance to the small things, the seemingly insignificant things. Like enjoying ice cream or having dinner. I often look at my parents and realize that they are always so stressed. Stressed about everything, anything. So much so that even the things that should bring smiles to their faces are not enjoyed. Family drives on the way to our vacation hotel should be filled with laughter and singing but is more often filled with worried tones and glances at the clock as they try to reach check-in.

Slow down. Life is short. Just because you are an adult and have responsibilities does not mean that you have to be serious all the time. Itís okay to have fun. Enjoying life doesnít mean you arenít taking your responsibilities seriously anymore. It simply means you are enjoying everything youíve worked hard for.

The second thing Iíve realized is that I have a lot to learn. And that we never really stop learning. Millennials have been getting a lot of limelight for being lazy, inexperienced, and ignorant. Stereotypes of course, and an easy target for memes, but in reality there are people who actually believe those claims. Times have changed. Technology has become a prominent aspect of life. Children spend more time on their phones than they do outside. There is a definite generational difference between millennials and baby boomers. And I donít want to go into depth about which generation was better or anything like that. I just want to point out the positives about both generations.

Baby boomers have had better experience appreciating the little things in life. They have childhood memories filled with the excitement of playing outside and having fun with other children. And while it seems like technology has only cultivated a society where everyone is separate, and enables each individual person to exist in their own personalized technological world, there are some benefits.

The millennial generation is accustomed to a world far bigger than the people they are able to interact with in person. They are absorbed in a world that include people from all over the world, from different places and backgrounds. They have been taught to be more open to those who may be considered different because they have been exposed to different through the use of social media and the internet.

While it may be true that we millennials are painfully unaware of everyday problems, we are possibly the most involved in worldwide issues. Our Twitters and Facebooks are filled with constant news about world events, politics, and minority abuse.

As a young person, I urge for people to be more open. To be open to ideas that are not their own, and to try and understand points of views that they may not necessarily agree with. The world is so much more than what we see around us, so much bigger than what is going on in our own personal lives.

We should enjoy life. Fill it with laughter and happiness. Accept whomever, however they may be. Treat everyone with kindness and love because everyone is deserving. Life is short, and while many believe you only realize it when youíre old, Iíve realized it while I am still young.

I am thankful. Thankful for life and love and everything the Lord has blessed me with. And I hope that even as I get older, and experience my own problems; even when everything in life seems to be trying to pull me down and make me unhappy, that I am still able to buy an ice cream cone and smile.

Read other articles by Angela Tongohan