Today was a big day for me. It marked the first time I voted for a presidential candidate in an actual booth at an actual polling place. And I’ve been looking forward to it for a long time.
I turned 18 in 2004, and voted in my first presidential election my freshman year of college. It was exciting to fill out my absentee ballot, lick the envelope lid and send it back in, but it was also anti-climatic. The feeling was the same in 2008, when as an intern in Alabama, I mailed in an absentee ballot for my second presidential election.
But today I woke up, did some work and headed over to Stamford High School, where for the first time, I cast the ballot that will determine how I live the next four years of my life surrounded by a group of people doing the same. It was an important moment for me, and it felt like I finally crossed one of those last thresholds into full-fledged adulthood. This was big; I wanted to do a back flip, fly a kite, play drum major in a parade — I would have settled for a sticker.
But there are no “I Voted” stickers in Stamford this year. When I first woke up this morning, I saw friends — many of whom were casting their first real-time ballots as well — complaining that they didn’t get a sticker this year.
Stickers may seem trivial, but not to me. To me, this was about marking a milestone. And I don’t think I’m alone in that.