Journal Entry 3 – Nineteen Years of Life

06.02.21 – 8:02 am

Today, I am nineteen years old. While it might be cliché, I can’t help but give into the sensation of entering a “new chapter” of life. On occasions like these, people always say we’re granted a fresh start, or a blank slate, which is true in a sense. But I’d argue each new chapter of life is an opportunity to build on the accomplishments and lessons learned from previous years.

The last year of my life has been absolutely transformative. Living on my own, teaching myself the foundational skills for my creative career, and enduring a pandemic… what a ride it’s been. I can’t believe how much I’ve learned and changed. Every time I’m in a place where I think to myself I finally have it all figured out. I know who I’m gonna be, what I’m gonna do, and what everything means. Then, suddenly, the universe hits me with a curveball and reminds me that my life story is designed to be unpredictable, even to me.

Like most people, the first eighteen years of my life was handed to me in phases. It was segmented into school years, summer breaks, family vacations, and a pretty standard yearly routine. Every year was very clearly building to the next year. My life had a schedule. And perhaps if I was a full-time college student, I would still feel that way. But ever since I graduated high school, I feel like I’ve entered what teachers called “the real world.” Not because everything is scarier or harder. But because I have customization over the schedule of my life. I can decide the pacing. The deadlines are set by me. It’s a huge burden and a huge freedom simultaneously.

Of course, as I grow older, there will still be milestones and landmarks to give me a sense of what “phase” of life I’m living through. But it’s no longer a clearly cut path. The months go by faster nowadays, and I’m faced with the challenge of seizing time and making the most of it. I have to motivate myself to accomplish my goals. I have to decide when drastic changes are necessary. I have to ensure that each day I live is full of joy. And most importantly of all, I have to maintain a sense of meaning in my life. As my father has told me, most people just let life happen to them. It’s rare to find a person who truly lives life.

Everyone says life is short. For the a while, I never understood. How could life be short? It’s the longest thing we’ll ever do! But now, as I enter my twentieth year on the planet Earth, I realize I’ve already lived a full quarter of my life (assuming I live as long as the average adult). And even if I make it to age 100, I’ve lived a fifth of my life already. That’s astounding! If my life was a list of 4-5 boxes, I would have already checked one off. What have I done so far? How have I positively impacted the people around me? What have I contributed to the world?

I recently wrote down a summary of my life, ages 0 through 19. If a future historian decided to encapsulate my adolescence into a singular sentence, this is what they would say: “Keilan Morrissey had a wholesome childhood and a loving family, was a naturally creative individual, made several great friends, met the love of his life, started pursuing an independent career in the arts, and began learning about the issues plaguing our world in hopes of changing them.” I think that’s a pretty decent start to the story of my existence.

I genuinely believe these last nineteen years have been full of meaning. In the form of human relationships, happy memories, powerful art, and knowledge I’ve gained through looking inward. I’ve conquered obstacles that I have yet to share with the world. But all in due time, the lessons I’ve learned and the beliefs I’ve gained will manifest into great stories that will, if all goes according to plan, make an impact long after my final box has been checked.

So I urge anyone reading this to be aware of our finite time on Earth. Enjoy the moment, and plan for the future. Don’t live irresponsibly, but don’t fear making bold decisions when your routine needs reshaping. We are only here for a short time, and we have no clue what comes next. Life is a huge mystery. Give it your own meaning. Create an impact. Have fun.

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