There is this idea that at 18 we officially become adults. But on my birthday a few weeks ago I did not automatically feel any older. I didn’t get my license, go out clubbing, buy a house or suddenly become responsible for my own bills. I was the same person I had been the day before, albeit a day older. Similarly, I find it amazing that we can go from students in a classroom having to raise our hand for permission to go to the bathroom, to being suddenly thrust into adulthood and expected to know what we want to do for the rest of our lives.
So then, when did I become an adult? Perhaps when I started cooking for myself or using public transport on my own. Or maybe it was when I stopped looking to my parents for advice on the majority of my decisions. Am I really an adult? Is anyone? I still enjoy marathoning Harry Potter movies and balancing on the edge of the pavement on my way to the bus stop. I pop bubble wrap and colour in pictures and hide my feet under my doona at night from the monsters. When it is cold, I pretend that I’m a dragon and that I am breathing out fire. Am I an adult? Well if that means I can’t watch Dr who then I don’t want to be one.
I once came across this quote; ‘Growing old is compulsory but growing up is optional‘. I may be legally an adult but at heart, I am a child and I know that I always will be.
That’s not to say that the benefits aren’t great. I can go and buy alcohol whenever I please, I just haven’t chosen to yet. I could get my license if only I had some hours.
At the same time, I’m scared for my future and all of the responsibilities that come with getting older. For anyone who is yet to turn 18; don’t be scared. You won’t suddenly wake up dressed for your career as a lawyer, with your children waiting for you. Take it one day at a time and you’ll be okay.