Well, it was my birthday today. 17. Its odd to see that number written there - right in front of me, indicating how long I have been alive. A year ago I remember telling myself, "well, you're only 16 once - experience all you can...feel everything...embrace every instant of this year". And now, this year is gone.

I'm now seventeen years old.

What does that say about me? Does it? How does it indicate who I am...the things I have seen, or felt, or experienced? I do not know. In theory, I understand what I am supposed to be - a child turning into an adult, or rather an adult trying to untangle itself from childhood. I do not know which I like best. I'm in transition - every day I discover something new, and my mind is swayed into a different direction. Talk about an identity crisis. Although, perhaps "crisis" is much too strong a word...it hints at agony, hysteria. My state is just...transitional. I am seeking myself, trying to make sense of the world around me, but also my place in it.

That, there, is the most difficult thing to comprehend. As weeks pass by, I swing from attempting to recreate my own image in the eyes of other people to withdrawing completely into myself. Either way, I emerge...confused. These words I write - they are standard fare, their meanings forming what countless persons have tried to express before. This confuses me. I do not understand how I differ, what gives me originality. I am aware of being different - yes, that I have learned to accept. But originality...my own dear perceptions - what power have they?

I am seventeen years old. I confess, my mind and imagination wander freely to places of little value or importance. Often I observe myself pondering upon the most ridiculous things - and yet at that same instant, I am keenly aware of the fact that I am relishing every second spent this way. I am seventeen years old. There are things I should be doing - my conscience bites at my mind like a pesky little dog...I am reminded time and time again of just how important all those things that I should be doing are. I know. I'll do them, yes, of course...brushing past my laziness and wandering mind...although, when? Oh, that is a difficult question.

With every day that passes by, I become aware of the fact that I am very nearly completely ignorant of...well, everything. I see things every day that magnify my own stupidity, that attract my attention to my own lack of knowledge. My interests shift and scatter....I try to grasp understanding of at least one concept. It all fascinates me...if not today, then surely tomorrow...or next week...or perhaps next month...

The point it, I am seventeen years old. A new year - a new number to say, to write in the space provided below, and to turn over curiously in my mind. Life? What is life? Labeled thus, by two mathematical units: "1" and "7"...how does that quantify my life?

I do not know.