I turned sixteen years old this past August. Sixteen. The age I have dreamed of since I was old enough to know what “age” was. I loved the sound of it when I was younger, and I lived in sheer suspense of the day I could answer that always-dreaded grown-up question, “And how old are you, sweetie?” With a lofty, “Why, I am sixteen.” How that would feel! Oh, what an age.
When I envisioned myself at sixteen, I saw a tall, beautiful young lady with gentleness and grace. I would be flawless and magnificently blond-locked, with ivory skin and deep, brilliant blue eyes. Just like the heroines of the books and movies always are at sixteen. In any case, I wouldn’t have any similarities with the six-year-old or ten-year-old or even thirteen-year-old Lucia; no indeed. Those girls would be far in the distant past. I would be sixteen, with no time for child’s play.
Needless to say, the years passed. Fourteen…fifteen…and then, the blessed day: sixteen! Ah, here I am. And how horrified the ten-year-old Lucia would be if she could see me now! No trace of flawlessness, no hint of ivory skin; the blond locks have grown rather brownish and “deep, brilliant blue” is a color my eyes will never be. The terrible truth of the matter is really this: I look very much the same as I have my whole life. Ah, poor childhood reveries!
And what of the gentleness, the grace? Is the full maturity I imagined for my elder self there? Here I have a little comfort—I can say with assurance that I am a good deal gentler and more graceful than I was five years ago. But I have such a long way to go, I am certain that this fact would not have satisfied the Lucia of yesteryear.
Nevertheless, life goes on, and my sixteenth year still holds much for me. Perhaps the Victorian beauty is still in my future; even if she is not I am not as horribly disappointed as I once would have been. Sixteen is not all I envisaged, yet at the same time it is more. Aging is different than I always supposed—I never thought each year would come upon me so suddenly and quietly, like the gradual tide. I like it that way.
Only one thing has 'age sixteen' quite satisfied me in.
“And how old are you, young lady?”
“Oh, I am sixteen.”
..It has been every bit the thrill I visualized. ;)