Thoughts on Reaching Adulthood

High School Graduation- May 27, 2016
 About a week ago, I went to the library because I wanted to open a card separate from my parents' account. I just wanted to borrow my usual stack of summer reading books without dealing with the fines which my family invariably creates when using our linked account and forgetting to return books. The worker at the desk asked whether I was 18. For a second, I hesitated, before responding with "Umm, almost!" I was surprised to learn that I had to be 18 to create my own library account, and the lady at the desk kindly told me to come back in a month. Needless to say, I grudgingly paid the fine on my parents' account and checked out my books.

I'm going to be a legal adult in about two weeks, which means... I can actually get my own library card, among other things! More and more, I've found myself having adult moments, or times when I make plans for what will happen after I move out. I dropped off my brother and his friend at a laser tag facility, and found myself saying "Be safe! Call me if you need anything!" and walking inside with them to make sure they found the rest of their group. I am in the process of re-painting my bedroom from the bright, fanciful colors I chose as a 13-year-old (green, brown, and blue) to a more neutral cream and brown color scheme. I make my own appointments to get haircuts, visit the dentist, donate blood, and soon will be scheduling my own doctor's appointment to get some booster vaccinations before college. 

That being said, there's another part of me which still feels very much like a teenager. I want to go to rock concerts, try skydiving, and stay out late talking with friends. I use social media, laugh at pointless internet memes, and waste time on YouTube. I see the world with a combination of childlike idealism and teenage cynicism. To me, adulthood is less an age and more a mindset or a social construct.

Growing up, I always felt older than my age. Part of it was that I wanted to be taken seriously by adults and make my own decisions. Another part of it was that I found it easier to talk to adults than to people my own age, and so I found it frustrating that my age was a barrier to having adult friends. With that in mind, I'm so excited for the opportunities and privileges that come with adulthood.

In some respects, I feel prepared. I would like to think that I'm mature enough to live on my own, especially as I'm headed so far from home in only a few short months. I don't rely very much on my parents for support, since they've always let me be fairly independent. I'm fine with traveling places on my own, driving, scheduling appointments, speaking to adults, and generally taking care of my own responsibilities. That being said, there are many things which I will have to learn. I've never had to cook for myself for an extended period of time, I've never had to do taxes or pay bills, and I've never bought a home, experienced marriage, or raised children. I've never had to change a tire or call an insurance company. I trust that I will learn these things when the time comes, but I'm sure there will be an adjustment period and some frantic Internet searches in the near future as I figure out this "adulting" process. 

Last week was my high school graduation. I'm thankful for the experiences I had in high school, such as competing in academic decathlon, taking AP exams, participating in music performances, and spending time with a small group of friends. However, high school was a difficult experience for me in other ways. It was often stressful, socially isolating, and frustrating. I thought that I would be sentimental about leaving it, but honestly I'm happy to have ended this chapter of my life. I'm sure at some point I will be nostalgic for childhood, but right now I'm happy to have this summer to explore myself, pursue my passions, and work on music projects.

Here's hoping that my first year as an adult will be the best year yet!

- Alison