Sixteen of Mind

Tomorrow is my 20th birthday, but by contrast to my 18th two years ago, I’m beginning to feel more like an adult as it approaches. As I’ve said to a few people this week, I felt like I had more maturing to do when I first became a legal adult, as I was 18 of body but 16 of mind. It was strange that – for want of a better term – the “safety catch” had been taken off of my life, and I was now free to drink, vote, bet and buy things like knives or fireworks if I wanted to. Even though I was living (and still live) within the bosom of my family, I was suddenly faced with so many more independent possibilities. The world could have been my oyster at any moment, and although I probably sound like a drama queen, that was a daunting prospect at the time.

After all, I had only finished Year 13 two months earlier (although I had a short-lived spell at another college to come after that). I felt security there, with friends, work to keep me occupied and plenty of people to consult if I needed advice, but beyond the subsequent course I had lined up I could be on my own – it would be up to me what to make of my life. Despite my real age, I just didn’t feel old enough to be confident in making those decisions for myself. Maybe my inexperience in adulthood at the time was to blame. Whilst two years seems like an insignificant period of time in the grand scheme of things, they have come with a number of changes and challenges, with my recently-ended one year work placement teaching me a lot about the workplace as well as how to conduct myself within it. I feel better now about my ability to progress further, even though there is little to keep me busy at the moment. I’ll spend tomorrow with Will, who has just told me that he feels 6 on most days rather than 16 or 20, and have as much fun as I can – it’ll undoubtedly help me feel even more optimistic about finding something to do soon. I have a feeling it could only be a matter of time.

Mason

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