The Big One Eight

One of the last pictures I'll take as a child.

One of the last pictures I’ll take as a child.

Over the course of a person’s life they are destined to hit many milestones, from first words, to first job, to first kid, the list goes on and on. Many of these milestones revolve around a person’s age or birthday. One, eighteen, twenty-one, thirty, forty, and fifty are considered the milestone ages (at one point sixteen was important too, but recently not so much). At one, a person can walk, halfway talk, and their innocence is still intact. Eighteen equals adulthood which equals freedom. Twenty-one means BARS, BARS, BARS! At thirty, forty, and fifty a person is just getting older at that point.

I’m turning eighteen on Friday and I’ve been asking people what kind of things they did when they turned eighteen. I’ve got a general consensus: buy lottery tickets, buy cigarettes even if you don’t smoke, go to the club, and do a lot of under aged drinking. Other than that people don’t really do much during their journey into adulthood, which is kind of disheartening. All my adolescence I’ve been told: “Not until you’re eighteen.” “You must be eighteen years or older to…” “When you’re eighteen you can do whatever you want.” As my final days of childhood slip through my fingers I haven’t been given much reason as to why I should look forward to “my big day”. The only reason I’m ready to be eighteen is so that I can finally go to the doctor and sign off on my own treatment without needing my mom’s permission.

During the course of my questioning I’ve received more than enough responses like “Being eighteen is overrated, the new age is twenty-one,” and “Eighteen doesn’t mean much to me, twenty-one will,” as well as “Maybe an easier concept is twenty-first birthdays. I know a lot of people like to plan for that.” With adulthood being a mere twenty-four hours away I feel somewhat betrayed. All my life I’ve been told that eighteen was a big deal and now that it’s here it’s really twenty-one I should be looking forward to? This is bull! Why should I look forward to any age? Who’s to say when I’m about to turn twenty-one that I won’t be told that it’s really twenty-five that’s the new “cool age”?

There was one story told to me that gave me hope that “my big day” would be just that, a big day. On his eighteenth birthday, a friend of mine with a group of friends took a few boats out to an island off the coast of one of the Carolinas and had a beach party. Said party ended with ten or so boats fleeing the scene as the coast guard came to get them off of the private beach. But I think the point of the story was adventure; he started adulthood off with an adventure which in turn is what adulthood and life is, right? If I don’t start it off with a bang, who’s to say my adulthood won’t be like my childhood with more stress. What if it’s even more boring and humdrum than the course of my life so far? Good God, what if people mean it when they say high school and college was the best time of their lives? High school sucked!

Over the course of these past few days I’ve come up with my own little consensus: Maybe adulthood is just overrated in general. That’s depressing.

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About the Author

Sierra Beeler is a Senior at UNCC, majoring in Creative Writing and minoring in Film and Women and Gender studies. Forever a daydreamer, Sierra aspires to one day monopolize an entire weeknight with her own slew of TV shows, more popular than anything Shonda Rhimes could make. On the rare occasions when Sierra is not somewhere being obnoxious, you can find her doing one of her many passions: writing, drawing, filming, screeching (also known as singing), etc.