So you’re 20 years old and becoming a father. Congratulations. I am, too. My first child will be born in about a month as you read this. And I’m telling you, stop freaking out. Everything’s going to be okay.

I’ve been told that now that I’m having a kid, my life is over. I’ve been told I’m stupid and immature and irresponsible and a failure and whatever else they could think of. They probably honestly think they are right, and I would say that I almost feel sorry for them, but I don’t.  They deserve to be that ignorant.

I don’t care what anybody else says: having a child does not end your life. Not even when you’re 20.

You’re scared about school. How can you ever go back to school now? How can you afford it? Come on. This is 2013, and with all the things we’ve accomplished as a species, you’re seriously still thinking you can’t go to school or achieve the things you want? I don’t buy it, and you shouldn’t either.

Yeah, raising a child is going to be hard. But not impossible. I mean, hell, people have been raising kids since the earliest forms of our race. What makes you so special that you can’t?

I do feel anxious. I am scared. But what I feel above all else is the strength behind the motivation that impending fatherhood brings. There is absolutely nothing more important than raising a child with the woman you love. The twenty years of life I’ve lived so far have led me to this. How unfortunate it is to be dismissed because of a number, but how fortunate I am to have the opportunity to prove my worth. I look back on my past, and I can see how everything has conspired to shape me into who I need to be to endure and succeed.

Consider this: When your child turns 20, you will be 40. That’s young. You’ll have your whole life ahead of you still, one you get to enjoy with your family.

I get to raise my child and watch them grow up, and still be young enough to live a long, full, happy life even when they are moved out and starting families of their own. I will get to see my grand children and great-grandchildren.

Having a child does not end your life. There are those who truly believe this, and let it happen. I sure as hell won’t be one of them. And neither will you.