Today is my 18th birthday. While I wrote a long and pompous article for my 17th birthday, I will be doing no such thing this year.

18 is a bigger milestone than 17, because I no longer have to do business in my father’s name. I can open my own bank account, eBay, PayPal, AdSense, and other accounts. I can be drafted by the army (I sure hope that doesn’t happen). The police can tase and clobber me with impunity. And I can claim virtual independence from my parents and family.

This year has been highly unproductive. I took off six months, basically doing nothing creative, eating junk food, playing video games, reading blogs rather than writing them, taking bad photos, idling, and not being in school. I lived at a lower frequency of awareness for most of this year. I would like to say that it was a learning experience, but it accomplished little. The only benefit is that I feel more wise and less driven now. I thought creativity was ingrained in my consciousness, but I found that it is an applied skill. I am perfectly capable of creating nothing and contributing nothing to the world.

While I wrote a lengthy article in October about becoming a vegetarian, and maintained that diet for ten weeks. I stopped last December when I started loosing my sense of taste and smell. It was a combination of eating bad foods, eating very little (1000 calories per day), and not sleeping properly. I’ve always been a night owl and was struggling to get up at 8 A.M. five days a week for my college courses at the end of last year, so I was only getting three hours of sleep or not being able to sleep at all for quite some time. Sleep deprivation has harsh effects on your body.

I was going to stop eating meat again today but I forgot and did anyway at lunch. So I should be able to claim vegetarianism from the day after my 18th birthday and will eat vegetables at dinner today.

As I’ve written before, I have no love for animals; my only reason to not eat meat is for the sake of my health. Our small intestines are too long and our stomach acidity is too low to digest animal flesh. That’s why meat that is not heavily cooked and processed makes you sick. While prepared meat in small quantities is healthful and a good source of protein, eating it three meals a day—or even one meal a day—is bad for you and cuts years off your life. It’s much easier to eat no meat than to eat a restricted amount, because you know exactly where you stand.

However, I won’t claim to be a vegetarian until the end of the year because I’ve proven my lack of commitment.

Rather than graduating from Daytona State College this year I will be graduating next year and only taking Calculus II and Music Appreciation this fall. In a way this is a blessing in disguise—I will have time to be involved in social projects, the school newspaper, Phi Theta Kappa, and other college events, whereas I had limited time with a 15-credit workload. I completed an online computer programming course over the summer (with an A, fortunately), and my fall classes start on August 31. I will likely start blogging again at Daytonastate.org.

Since my classes are in the morning, I have been adapting to getting up in the morning. The past three days, I’ve gone to bed at 9 P.M., 4 P.M. and 7 P.M., and got up at 4 A.M., 2:30 A.M., and 5 A.M., respectively. I’d like to get up at 5 A.M. every day. I’ve done this in the past for several weeks at a time, but I’d always get involved in a computer programming project and drift, until I’d be going to bed at 3 A.M. and getting up at noon. I can’t afford to do that anymore. I must be more rigid. I don’t care what time I go to sleep—as long as I’m up at the same time early every morning and am not tired, I’m happy.

During my period of creative negligence, I did complete one project: Bookley, the open-source integrated library system, which required two weeks of programming. It is 4000 lines of PHP code and it works quite well. Eventually I’ll implement it for the public library I want to open in a few years.

I’ve written a few articles in the past month, and I’ve been posting new photos again, though far fewer than during the glory days. I want to write at least ten articles a month from this point on. There are still a lot of personal development concepts I want to cover. I find that I become more collected and driven writing about personal development than reading the work of others. It would be nice to hit 250,000 words on this blog at the year’s end (189,000 now), although the quality of my writing is more important than the quantity.

After five months of inactivity, in the past month I’ve released five updates to my WordPress plugin, Tweet This. It adds social bookmarking links to your blog posts, with an emphasis on Twitter. The new versions have focused on bugfixes and stability, while adding small yet important features. The next version, which I will start soon and complete by the end of next month, will add automatic posting of your blog posts to Twitter with a host of filtering options. The plugin will soon be a complete Twitter solution.

My talents and accomplishments must now be filtered through an adult lens rather than the lens of a child. I will not claim youth to impress others with my writing, photographic, or musical abilities. If my skills were exceptional at 15, they are merely standard now, for I do not improve at a rate commensurate with my age. In the next year I will accelerate my rate of personal growth through real accomplishments.

I do not feel young, and my future is a blank. I have no idea where I’ll be in ten years. I’m not interested in working for any company, but I may have to. “Have to” is a limiting term however. When you say you “have to” do something, what you mean to say is that you have chosen to do so. My blog is less popular now than it was last year and I am only clearing $35 a month from advertisements, though admittedly Th8.us is expensive to host. I can’t live on $35 a month. I could only hope to not require a job if I was making $1000 a month, and I’m far from that. I remain unemployed for now.

2009-12-20 Update: Do not follow my advice in the next paragraph. Stick with your family and take care of your family. Independence is less important than you think and you should not try to put distance between yourself and your family or friends. I was a fool for what I wrote below.

I live alone in a trailer in my parents’ back yard, which I moved into at the start of this month. I have a computer, Internet, bathroom, shower, sink, water, electricity, microwave, toaster oven, hot plate, refrigerator, freezer, bed, air-conditioner, and plenty of closet space. I spend most of my time here. Before, I lived in my parents’ house. It is very important to put distance between you and your family, because if you do not you will forever remain a child. If you’re turning 18 soon, move out—do whatever you can to get away from your parents. If you can’t get a house or apartment, move in with a friend. If you can’t do that, buy a travel trailer and put it in your parents’ yard, then move into it. If there are any out buildings or a guest house, those are also an option. Better yet, go to a college 500 miles away from your parents. If you cannot move out, move your computer to your bedroom. Go out more—without your parents. Start locking your door. Buy your own food. Make money online blogging, or get a job. Pay the electric bill. Get a driver’s license and a car, or share your parents’ car. Independence is not a psychological mindset. Independence is PROPERTY.

I have no friends and few acquaintances. I am in contact with no one from my previous workplace or college classes. I don’t call them and they don’t call me. If I said I’ve ever had a true friend, I would be lying.

I am going to change this year. I am going to create real connections rather than superficial socialization. I am going to be more emotionally involved—I don’t care if that sounds wimpy.

12 thoughts on “Eighteen

  1. Best wishes I assurance that up to now you absolutely accept accomplished something and a lot of of all, you accept accomplished who you are and what you want! Believe me it’s a big thing! I can alone ambition you to adore what you accept and not to anticipate about what you don’t have. If you want better services, you can get Seo Pakistan.

  2. Belated Wishes. Confidence makes a man perfect in his life. By seeing the above post I am sure that you are talented person but don’t be too confused. Best wishes for your achievements.

  3. I’d agree with a comment in a post after this post. friends and family first. dont think too much, dont plan too much, take it easy… working in a company will bring your friends, that i know most people would agree with. working for a company in an open plan office is perfect for interacting and making friends. listen to people and be kind to them. dont talk about politis or god, faith and all that. people dont really need much in life apart from love, go ask some 70 or 80 year old and they wil tell you.

    • Yeah, I’ve never been one to make complicated plans, but sometimes my plans are a bit… unwieldy. I’m setting fewer goals than ever, but they’re more targeted, you know? Important stuff. Organizing my collection of pirated DVDs isn’t important, so I don’t do it. I don’t even watch them anymore or have a T.V. in my trailer.

      I used to work in an open setting in a public library. It was very nice, but then the librarian was replaced and the new one was one of those “no talking” types and made us follow our job descriptions. My job was only shelving but normally I was the go-to guy for computer issues and I’d spend most of the day behind the desk doing check-outs. The new librarian ended that, so my job was crap then. I decided that I was never going to quit, but I got fired anyway because I wasn’t nice toward her. Nor was she toward me.

      Anyway, I find that you can make deeper connections and better friendships with people by talking about personal beliefs, politics, etc. As long as you come to it from a non-judgmental frame and your friend does too. If he lashes out… the friendship wasn’t good to begin with.

      The nice thing now is that most people agree that the U.S. is going down the tubes because of the constant warring, empire-building, and expansion of the U.S. dollar. Common ground is always good.

  4. Happy belated birthday wishes to you :smile: It is definitely better to have all your money making accounts under your own name. I can imagine the big smile in your face when you receive your first Google cheque featuring your name.

    • Thanks Eranda! My father’s name is on the account now… He’s Richard J. Thripp. The checks say Richard Thripp, so I could deposit them now anyway if I had a bank account. :grin:

  5. Happy belated birthday!

    Don’t be so hard on yourself, though… :smile:

    What online programming course did you take in the summer? Was it helpful at all? I’m not really a programmer, but would love to learn (for web design purposes) – just don’t really have the time or financial resources at the moment… but something online might work!

    • Thanks. COP1000 Introduction to Computer Programming. It was mostly a simple program called Visual Logic, and a graphics design program called ALICE. We had to examine C++ programs but didn’t have to write any.

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  7. Happy Birthday! I trust that up to now you really have achieved something and most of all, you have realized who you are and what you want! Believe me it’s a big thing! I can only wish you to enjoy what you have and not to think about what you don’t have. :)

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