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18 Candles

In eight months, I will turn eighteen and therefore be a legal adult. No doubt this is a landmark in an individual’s life, especially given all the new things one is suddenly expected to do and be. Certainly a single day, this relative flicker of life, will be all it takes to change me from the silly, fickle, unprepared teenager that I am now, into a mature, steady, self-sufficient member of society. After all, that’s what being an adult means..
When I turn eighteen, I will be secure in a moderately well-paying job. I will pay for my own education, housing, car, insurance, and food. I will be entirely independent. Of course I will not be writing my parents asking for money (like I may have done the day before my eighteenth birthday) because I will be an adult, and only children need money from their parents.
When I am eighteen, I will vote in the next open election. I will make an informed and confident selection of this nation’s next leader, because as a legal adult citizen of the United States, this is my civic duty. I will be entirely prepared to determine exactly who is right to regulate the subtleties of foreign diplomacy and national security.
The instant in time that represents my eighteenth birthday will mean sophisticated conversation with other adults. I will be informed and opinionated on everything from politics to insurance rates to the stock market. I will take part in social norms such as neighborly gossip with suburbanites, friendly banter with sports fans, and respectful, sage attentiveness to senior citizens. I will complain about my job, though it’s the goal that will push me through college, and I will complain about my pay, though it’s more than I have ever made. I will smile wanly at the seventeen-year-olds as they talk among themselves, confident that what they have to say is entirely shallow and insignificant.
After I turn eighteen, most of the relationships I take part in will be professional rather than social. My priority will be education and occupation, climbing the ladder to success. I myself will also be professional in addition to confident and clever. I will write fluently and incessantly, always lending myself to more opportunities to be noticed and respected, because my priorities include earning the respect of my superiors, and if I am not noticed by them I will be in danger of quitting my job or descending into a life-sucking, abysmal depression– to which so many adults can attest as part of adult life.
If I don’t understand something once I am eighteen, when I ask a question of another adult, they’ll walk away from the conversation thinking, “She’s an adult now; she should know.” In eight months, therefore, I will join the ranks of the presumptuous, the all-assuming, the self-satisfied… and of course I’ll be ready.

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