As I get older, I get more sucked into the void of our American capitalist culture. I fall into the trap of the routine life. Go to school, go to work, come home, sleep, do it again the next day. Make time for the gym if you can (that, at least, is fulfilling). Days go by quicker at the age of 20 than they did at the age of 15. My fear that I will become an average individual, a product of the machine, a cog in the wheel of the system, becomes more and more realistic and frightening. The one thing that pulls me through is that I still remember my dreams. I go back to that age of 15, when I didn't have a job, when Marilyn Manson was my best friend, when my world consisted of half-fantasy, half-reality. I hold on to that. I tell myself, "As long as you remember who you were, who you ARE, then you will be ok".
I look at the adults that surround me. Parents and managers and seniors, all people who are older than I am, all people who have finally "settled in" to their roles in life. Some of them are content, others are not. Some of them had their life interrupted by the birth of a child, or a job offering they couldn't refuse. Some had dreams like I do, but lost them along the way. I look at them as a sort of warning sign for my future. I am all too aware that I will grow old one day. One day I will wish I was still 20.
But one day is not yet. Right now, I am 20. I am barely out of my teenage years, and they went by faster than I ever imagined they would. They were not as romantic and ideal as I envisioned them to be when I was a child. I didn't fall in love with the perfect girl, I certainly didn't have the perfect body, or the perfect job. I haven't become a successful world renowned artist yet. Like I said before, my life is perfectly average at the time being. But I haven't lost track of where I am going. When I see that glimmer of light in the eyes of someone who is older than me when they speak of their childhood dreams, it speaks to me. That light is a reflection of MY light. When I hear the contentedness in their voice (tinged with a tiny bit of regret, a bittersweet sound) as they tell me they gave up their dreams, goals, sky-high ambitions, so that they could raise a family, or marry their sweetheart, I make a silent but firm promise to myself that I will avoid the pitfall of the average life. I will rise above the expectations the world has for me, and deliver something of my own. What will I deliver? I'm not sure yet. All I know is that I will, that I HAVE to, because I believe in my destiny. At the end of the day, I believe that I was born to be free, that I was born to be more than average. I go back to that 15 year old self, and I listen to what he has to say. Yes, he was unhappy. He was fat, insecure, lonely, and melancholy as hell. But he was also pure. He had that connection to art, to films and music and literature, that only teenagers can have. He was untouched by the world of 9-5 jobs, and bills, and responsibilities that seems endless. He knew what mattered. Not money, not assimilation into culture and society, but freedom from the bondage of the world. He believes in transcendence, in art for art's sake, in emotion, in destiny. He believes in love, he believes in the moments that you carry with you forever. He believes in taking chances, in being brave, in living in the moment. Sometimes my 20 year old self forgets these things. Even if it's briefly, and just for a moment, sometimes I forget what matters. Sometimes I'm so consumed with the fear of making enough money to pay for what I need, or getting to class on time so that I can "move forward", that I forget how inconsequential these things really are in the long run of a human beings life. So I go back to that 15 year old, that Eternal Teenager that lives inside of me forever, and I make him a promise that he'll be everything he promised himself he would, one day.