Birthdays are weird. Don’t get me wrong, I love the attention. As narcissistic as that sounds, it’s tremendously true. I’m very overt in my anticipation for gifts, food, and the “Happy Birthday” song. I revel in the fact that on your one special day you can practically do whatever you want. On this day you are royalty, or even a god, and all must bend to your command. But birthdays also seem perplexing in that we choose to celebrate a pagan tradition with balloons, cake, and candles to commemorate to getting closer and closer to death.
Wow, that got morbid really fast.
So this past Thursday was my birthday (December 13th, in case you want to put it in your calendar for next year). My 18th birthday to be exact. People have told me that your 18th birthday is a major milestone in your life. The 18th birthday is arguably the most important in American society. There are a multitude of responsibilities and expectations that come with it as well. In the eye’s of the general public, you are a young adult. I’m like a metaphorical butterfly who’s ready to burst out of its cocoon!
But how does one… “adult”? I woke up that morning not feeling any different. I put on my clothes and they didn’t fit any differently. In the mirror I still looked the same. I didn’t notice any wrinkles or grey hairs. I walked downstairs to get breakfast and I still craved my favorite cereal filled with high fructose corn syrup over my mom’s healthier alternative, Shredded Wheat. On the car ride to school I still opted to blast 2000’s Disney music over listening to a podcast. And so on and so forth.
Nevertheless, there are a handful of privileges one get when they reach the prime age of 18:
Now that I’m of the legal voting age of 18, the 26th amendment states that I can vote! I can vote in all local and national elections.
Getting a tattoo/ piercing (without a parent permission)
I can tat up my whole body and pierce literally anything and everything… cool. I just have to get over my fear of the needle first.
Open a credit card
I can apply for my own personal credit card without a cosigner. Now someone just needs to tell me how they work.
Enlisting in the armed forces
As a legal adult, I can enlist or be drafted into any branch of the military.
Prison (Big Boy Jail)
Being 18 comes with new consequences. My bad decisions may have landed me a slap on the wrist or a stern talking to but the whole game has changed.
Play the Lottery
That means it’s time to buy $50 worth of scratch cards and try my luck!
Wait, what? I can adopt another human being? That’s crazy! I can barely remember to water my plants! How can I be old enough to care for another person?
Marriage? Yuck! That’s just a lot of commitment. I’ve never even had a serious boyfriend. What happened to just going to the movies? Ice cream? Playing cat and mouse? I mean, I always said I wanted to marry Harry Styles as soon as I could but I was only kidding! My mom told me that I couldn’t get married until I was 85 anyway.
Sure, I was a butterfly in its cocoon. It was warm, safe, familiar. But instead of bursting out and flying into the sunset, I was evicted and smacked on the ground. If I’m being honest, I’m afraid of the foggy and unclear journey ahead of me. When will I finally know how to adult? Does anyone truly know?