Now, I’m 19!

As I turn 19, I decided to incorporate a few of my favorite baby photos growing up, in this piece. This photo is my mother and me.

Hello everyone! This piece recaps my 19th birthday, and briefs over my goals in my final year as a teen. Enjoy, and please share it with your friends!

DISCLAIMER: With the COVID-19 virus currently impacting our world, let’s educate ourselves, and others, on how to prevent this virus from spreading even further. Remember to wash your hands frequently, practice social-distancing, and pray, that we can leave this pandemic behind us.


The day started with a prayer.

My favorite baby photo. It’s me, most likely reaching for a bag of donuts, at age two.

It was 11:30 pm on Friday, March 20th. I was on FaceTime with a close friend. I had forced myself to take a nap hours before, so by the time I awoke from slumber, my birthday would have arrived.

As the clock reached closer to twelve, excitement crept in. Funny enough, I’d been waiting for this day since I turned 18.

My eighteenth birthday started off a crapshoot. The night before, I’d gotten into a disagreement with my mother, that easily could’ve been avoided. Filled with anger, I made some remarks I shouldn’t have and went to bed emotional as the time reached 12.

A picture of me, enjoying Fruit Loops in the South Bronx.

That morning, I woke up, expecting a proliferation of birthday wishes flooding my cellphone. Instead, my screen read “You’ve reached your time limit on Facebook”. My mom had enabled a parental lock on my phone.

I didn’t know how to feel. Granted, it may seem as if I exaggerated this entire situation, but look from my perspective: an 18th birthday represents a milestone. Entering adulthood, social restrictions are removed, etc.

Instead of enjoying my newfound privileges, I was stuck with a cellphone that only made voice calls and sent text messages, in the midst of a disagreement with my mother.

My little brother (left), and I posing for a photo.

To make a long story short, by afternoon my mother removed the restrictions, as we put our differences aside. Also, I didn’t go home that night.

My high school’s basketball team and I traveled to Glen Falls, NY to participate in the New York state high school boys basketball tournament. Rather than resting in my South Bronx home that night, I would fall asleep in a 4-star hotel, upon a queen-sized bed. Not bad.

Despite this, my eighteenth birthday wasn’t how I’d envisioned it months before. Therefore, I vowed to make the next birthday better than the last.

Now, back to my nineteenth birthday.

As the clock hit 12 o’clock that Saturday morning, I ran to my mother’s bedroom to embrace her. I was grateful to reach this age, in the midst of the craziness captivating our world.

My sister at two months and I, in our Florida home.

After delivering my birthday wishes, my brother, mother, sister, and I formed a circle and held hands. Our family tradition during one’s birthday is to share a prayer, wishing blessings during that person’s special day, and beyond.

As the prayer concluded, I embraced each of my family members, as they gifted me with a care package filled with cards and chocolates. It was so cute!

I then ran to my cellphone, at this point overflowing with messages via friends and family from all walks of life. I was overwhelmed, but thankful.

As I responded to each person who contacted me, I fell asleep. Waking up around 10 am, I was greeted with another flurry of birthday wishes.

The remainder of the day was magnificent. Despite the impact of the COVID-19 virus making things less than ideal, the closest people in my life made it a memorable occasion.

My family and I, during my sister’s first birthday celebration.

The day concluded with several of my closest friends gathering in my home for a thanksgiving-like feast. After we ate, my friends and I retreated to the lobby of my building, to capture photos for social media.


The age of 18 presented many experiences I’ll remember forever: playing in the NYS high school boys basketball championship, prom, graduation, my first semester of college, creating this blog, meeting ABC World News anchor David Muir, and much more.

Now turning 19, I pray it brings a new batch of life-changing opportunities like the year before.

My goal for the next 365 days is to remain consistent with “Andy Buckets”, as well as continually sharing my work, in an attempt to place it in the right people’s hands.

Besides that, I plan to improve my effort at school, in and outside the classroom. I’ll strive to play more competitive basketball, and revive my love for the sport that’s opened several doors for me (if anyone has a 19-under basketball team this summer, and you need a player, contact me!)

And lastly, I want to consistently improve in every facet of my life. I’m confident that I can reach another level of productivity, which will then get me closer to my ultimate goals.

Me, blowing a candle during my 4th birthday party.

To conclude, thank you to those that wished me a happy birthday Saturday. And thank you to the close family friends that made MY day special.

As I endure this journey, in my final year being a teen, I aim to be the best Andy I can be. I’ll utilize each opportunity that comes to my direction as a chance to learn, help others, and present myself, and my loved ones a better future.


If you made it to the end, thank you so much for reading. Leave a comment if you enjoyed this piece. And please, share this with your friends!

Best,

Andy

*Special shoutout to Latoya, Marvin, Chris, and Kebra, just because.

(Originally posted March 24, 2020 on Medium. Edited May 23, 2020 on WordPress.)

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