Twenty-one years ago, on July 15, 1992 at 12:07 a.m., I entered this world.
Though I am suffering from a severe case of nostalgia, I'm managing to meticulously count down the moments until I achieve the last milestone birthday of young adulthood. (This sentence was penned at 11:31 p.m. on July 14 for those of you keeping score at home).
Fifteen earns you the right to drive a motor vehicle with the company of an adult.
Sixteen lets you spread your wings towards freedom between the hours of 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. However, one missed curfew and you found your keys revoked and you were left bumming rides from friends, again.
Eighteen allows you to officially become an adult and buy cigarettes and lottery tickets. And 21? Well, I can officially buy beer and that beautiful abstract thing we like to call "reality" starts rapping at my chamber door more frequently.
But I've realized something, as usual. I want 21 to be better than 20 was. Not that year 20 in the life of Andrew Gage Arnold was a waste, but I look back and see the potential, the missed opportunity and I am only left kicking myself in some instances.
So, with that in mind, I'm proposing a deterred theme for the duration of this column. I'm going to list the top 8 things I want to do in year 21 of my life.
I was going to get quite creative and list 21 things but my word count ran over.
Maybe this will serve as inspiration for you to make a list of your own.
1. Learn to swing dance – For the longest time I've wanted to learn. I'm far from possessing two left feet but I've just never made the time for this, until now. Think Patrick Swayze in "Dirty Dancing" with less hunk and more funk in my step. Holla.
2. Volunteer at an animal shelter – Have you ever seen that Humane Society commercial, you know, the one that features Sarah McLachlan's "Angel?" Well that's pretty much my inspiration for this one.
3. Exercise at least two times a week – This is beginning to sound like a new year's resolution. I swear it's not. I'm vowing to dust off the tennis shoes, rain or shine. (Disclaimer: This plan will probably be the first to be abandoned.)
4. Witness the Tennessee football team pull off a major upset in Neyland Stadium – I've waited years for this. I dreamt as a child of donning an "Orange Nation" t-shirt and shaking my orange shaker to Rocky Top as UT defeated a highly ranked team in Neyland. So far, the biggest victory in Neyland I've witnessed was a thrilling comeback over Vanderbilt in 2010. A far cry from an "upset." If I were a better man, I'd be circling my calendar for the South Carolina game in Neyland in late-October. This program is overdue.
5. Drink beer – What's a list about things to do when you're 21 without a hat-tip to having a cold one. I am not a heavy drinker, but being able to order an occasional brew with my buddies will be a welcomed change.
6. Graduate college – Aside from consuming alcohol, this should be very high on the list. It's odd to have spent 17 years of your existence within a school-like structure and now to know that I'm on the cusp of being finished gives me the warm-fuzzies in my stomach. At this point, nabbing that degree will be well worth it.
7. Overseas missions – I've definitely felt a call on my life to pursue overseas missions in some shape or form. I spent six weeks in Uppsala, Sweden in the summer of 2012 and my world was rocked to the core. Before I land a "grown-up" job I want to invest in the plans that have been pressed upon my heart.
8. Meet my (future) wife – If there's another who fits the mold of "hopeless romantic," it's probably me. Picture my love life in the Joseph Gordon-Levitt in '(500) Days of Summer' role. If I could meet a compassionate and hip gal next year, I sure wouldn't be complaining.
Cheers to you, 21. Don't you dare disappoint.