Who were you when you were 18? How have you changed? What experiences shaped you between then and now?

There’s been a lot, hasn’t there? New music, indispensable friends, indelible experiences. New family, children, broken allegiances. You’ve changed your mind, you’ve probably changed religious views, or at least deepened them. Your politics and philosophies have mutated. You’ve had wild times. You’ve (hopefully) had some pretty awesome sex—some of it with people that you knew better than to have that awesome sex with, but that’s part of what made it awesome. You’ve met people that you thought you would love forever. You’ve had your heartbroken. Then you met other people, people you stayed up on the phone all night with until all the love songs made sense again.

You did things. You learned to drive. You learned to drive drunk. You learned that driving drunk is pretty much fucking insane. You dealt with death and loss. You learned about the world. You partied all night. Hopefully, you learned a bit about yourself. You’ve watched your body change and you’ve learned things about diet. You’ve discovered where some of your food comes from. You adjusted. You did things you’re glad you did before camera phones and social media.

You learned that all that glitters is not gold. You learned that the things that define you in one era can repulse you in the next. You’ve come to understand some of the things your grandmother used to say. You’ve begun to say some of the things your grandmother used to say. You may have even become a grandmother yourself. You’ve seen things that were quiet and uncommon become so regular that they now have names and acronyms.

You’ve seen technology change the world. You’ve seen it change people. You’ve done things that you said you’d never do. And, when no one was watching, you did them again. You’ve come to realize that all of these things happen in messy ways, with no real lines between them. No order. Just the chaos of life. Dirty dishes, running wild, dancing, drugs, prayer, study, filling out forms, crying on shoulders, hating the sound of birds and the sunlight when you’re hungover, brunch. You’ve discovered brunch.

And culture. And heady ideas. And taxes and getting to places on time and all of the things that Michael Brown won’t get to experience because he was shot dead by six shots from Darren Wilson’s gun and no one knows why but Darren Wilson, wherever he may be.

So, hug your children, if you still can. Find someone to run wild with to the point where you hate the sound of birds and the sunlight tomorrow. Then brunch brunch until you can’t brunch anymore. Get someplace on time. Learn yourself some culture. Look at someone who was 40 when you were 18 and appreciate their lines, their greyness, their thinning. But don’t do it for Mike. Do it for yourself. Because you have this precious thing called life and you should meet people and change and deepen your politics and your faith while you still can. And, you should have awesome sex while your body can still appreciate it. - Kris Ex