All About Alex: Holding my head high


There are a few phrases I hear quite often.

Besides the usuals like “Alex, why are you watching ‘90210’ instead of doing your homework?” or, “Alex, why are walking when coach said to run?” one thing I hear on the daily is “Alex, you know your brain isn’t fully developed until you’re 25 years old?”

Cool. Thanks for letting me know. I’ll tell the doctor at my next check up. Hopefully I don’t need surgery.

Attempting to invalidate my ideas or decisions, people sputter about how my brain isn’t developed and my judgement is partially hindered.

I love when people have confidence in me. It really boosts my self-esteem.

Being an intellectual—which has been quite difficult with my unmatured brain—I’ve thought very deeply on this. I’ve looked at the facts, and reflected on my own harrowing experiences with an unformed brain (like when I hit  a parked car because I was completely immersed in “Water Under the Bridge”). Here are my conclusions:

Science is science. I know some widely agreed upon rulings from the science community about climate change have been challenged by politicians recently, but the facts are there. No changing them, but I don’t think having an partially unformed brain is truly as big of a deal as people make it out to be.

Involved is my middle name. Well, actually Paul is, but pretend it’s Involved.

I work. I engage in the world. I volunteer. Maybe I should stop doing those things because my judgement is impaired. Sounds good. More “90210” for me. At this rate I can move on to “Real Housewives” by next week.

Just kidding. I’ll continue to do these things because they are the right thing to do. I make some good decisions here and there.

I know, what an anomaly. Go me. I think I’ve earned myself a large ice cream cone. I’ll go to TCBY because I get the employee discount.

Teenagers are expected to make big life choices, and drop some serious cash on these decisions, too. Now I’m not referring to the ever-eminent dilemmas I face every single day, like buying a new coat for my dog or a treating myself to Panera Bread. (I know, toughie.) I’m talking about colleges, careers, jobs—all before the age of 25. “Yikes” is an understatement. I think “over it” is more fitting.

Responsibility is given early. We teach ‘em young. At 15, you can drive. At 16, you can drive without a parent or guardian in the car. Voting comes a 18. Drinking at 21. That’s a lot to do with an impaired brain.

Maybe when I turn 25 I’ll have some sort of out-of-body experience where I’ll watch an alien descend from Mars and cut my head open and form my brain so I can be an adult. Maybe I’ll drive better—that’d be a public service. Or maybe the front light that I totally accidentally smashed on the front of my car will fix itself. (If you can’t tell already, I’m not a car person.)

All in all, I think I’m doing pretty well with a brain that isn’t fully formed. I hold my head—and my unmatured brain—high.