Athena, at 22 years old.

Athena’s 22 today, and while she can (and may!) give her own thoughts about being that age to you, on my end I think this last year has been an eventful one for her. As it has been for most of us: 2020 was not so much a curveball as it was a fastball aimed at the world’s collective face, and it’s fair to say that most of us didn’t duck in time. In Athena’s case, a semester she took off from college became a whole year, and possibly more, as a pandemic basically rewrote the university experience worldwide.

As a parent, I wouldn’t have thought I’d’ve been okay with such a long hiatus from school, but Athena has not let the time go by idly. Most notably, of course, she’s been working for me here, both writing pieces and taking care of some back end stuff for me. Working with my kid has been, by and large, a joy for me, and seeing her develop as a writer — and being able to help her do so — has genuinely been one of the most satisfying things I have gotten to do as a father. I am really proud of her, and her work.

We will see where this next year takes all of us, but I have confidence in my kid. None of us, I think, are currently walking the road we expected to this year, or have necessarily arrived at the milestones we expected to reach. But this is not necessarily a bad thing. The path we’re now on can still take us to where we want to be, or to someplace else we didn’t know we wanted to be before we got there. I’m looking forward to seeing where Athena’s path takes her in the next year, and I love that I get to walk that path with her, at least some of the way.

I love you, Athena. Happy birthday.

29 Comments on “22”

  1. Happy Birthday, Athena! Reading your posts on this site has been one of the things that’s helped ME get through 2020–good job, and thank you.

  2. Athena, since you amuse me, I’ll add my wishes for your future. I drove my life into a culvert when I was 21, but sorta kinda put it back in shape the next year. I didn’t have a planet-girdling plague to contend with, but I think you are probably an awful lot smarter than I was, so…anyway, Happy New Personal Year, as it were.

  3. Happy Birthday, Athena! My oldest turned 22 in November. It’s been a heck of a year for all of us, but particularly you young people who are (in American culture anyway) supposed to be using this time to prepare for launching yourselves into the capitalist maw. None of us olds know what to expect anymore, so our career advice is going to be wildly useless. Try to make a little money and don’t die pretty much sums it up right now. I hope you continue writing on Whatever and/or elsewhere. You have a distinctive voice and it’s a delight to read your perspective.

  4. [Deleted because this sad, tiny person clearly feels no joy in his life, and needs to lash out for his lack of hugs on the Internet. Also the comment was unexceptionally trite as far as insults go; no real effort made — JS]

  5. Happy birthday, Athena! And happy becoming-a-parent-anniversary, Mr. and Mrs. Scalzi!

    It makes me happy to read about the way you have deepened and grown your relationship with Athena as adults who happen to be related. I reached that point with my own offspring about a decade ago, and it still astounds and delights me to think that two of my closest friends, and two of the people I most respect in the world, are actually my kids.

    May the year to come be filled with growth, happiness, health and joy for all of you, both individually and collectively!

  6. Happy Birthday, Athena! I have enjoyed your contributions to the blog. I like the the insight into youth that you provide. All the best in 2021!

  7. Happy Birthday Athena! 2020 has been a kick in the shorts for many of us. A terrible year. Interesting? In the Chinese curse sense.

    I hope this results in a re-thinking of college education. There should be ways to get a degree without physically attending classes. The quality of instruction has gone downhill continuously, while the costs have skyrocketed. They have followed the business model of charging the most the market can bare, and exceeded that. Time for something better.

  8. Happy birthday Athena! And Happy Christmas from the future! (It’s after 9am Christmas morning in New Zealand)

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