Perfect Age / by airi katsuta

I reminisce about my past a lot and I feel like I make them seem more beautiful than what they really were. But the perfect age that I wish I could relive is either 5 years old or 19 years old. At age 5, you slowly start to develop a personality with a favorite color or a favorite animal, something simple as that. My favorite color was green back then just because I was on the green team in kindergarten. My favorite animal was a pig and wanted to be a pig when I grew up (I have no idea why). My parents took my sister and I to many vacations like camping or a Disneyland trip or even Australia. I had no care in the world. I played dodgeball with the boys and climbed trees. I always took my socks off at school so I had a personalized pile of dirty socks. My mom always made me pack an extra set of clothes because I played in the mud and always managed to get myself dirty. Those were the days. Nothing to worry about, I don't even think I knew what "stress" meant. If I could be a 5 year old again, I'd totally do it.

Skip like a decade, I think I had a great year at 19/20 years old. I finally met people that I consider true friends. I finally realized what I wanted to be and why I do what I do. I met my photo people. I finally felt like I found a group of people that I can relate to and talk about photographs with. We'd go shoot together, stay overnight at school to print, stress and freak out together about the upcoming project. Though due dates and all-nighters definitely took the life outta me but I wouldn't change a thing about it. I learned a lot about photography itself and I met Michael Lundgren who made me cry almost everyday at the beginning of that year because I didn't understand why he didn't like my photos. I always questioned, why does he hate me and my work so much? But anyone who knows Mike, he doesn't bullshit. He never sugarcoats anything and he won't give a shit if you don't give a shit. I finally realized that he was just pushing all of us harder so we can become better photographers and see the world in a different way. I know I'm not his favorite student or someone that stood out in his class but he definitely changed how I see the world and where I stand in this universe through my photographs. I still can't talk photos like some people in this department but I'm starting to understand it and I'm still learning. I finally felt like I saw an improvement in myself that year of my life. If I could go through that rush again, I would definitely do it.

But I know that I will have those moments again. I'm only 20, I know I have a whole life to live. I feel like I'm a little scared of the real world after I graduate. I'm not sure what I want to do or who I want to be. I feel like I'm going through a quarter life crisis right now. But in time, I'll figure it out and I'll understand.

Til then.