On Being 17

Well, it is December 21st, and I turned 17 years old just two days ago.

It’s strange, to tell the truth: in 363 days from now, I will be an adult; an adult with taxes and responsibilities and the ability to work at new jobs, make love to young women (and older), and buy certain things and go to certain places previously unknown to me. Kinda crazy thinking about all that.

The prospect of becoming an older person really tests your principles and outlook on the world; there are adults who act like children, and children who act like adults; there are men who act like boys, boys who act like men. It’s interesting to reflect on the idea of me, at 17 years old, already knowing about what I am going to do with my life and possessing the eagerness to carry out my ambitions.

But no matter how old are you are, whether you be a man or a boy, you always deal with the prospect of acting like a boy or acting like a man. There are teenagers who are young men like me who are scared shitless about the prospect of going out into the world as a legal adult. There are young men who think being an adult is another opportunity to practice their “YOLO-fuck bitches get money” way of life.

With being 17, I see things more in a realistic, and perhaps blunt, way: I am a 17 year old junior in high school; no longer can one lazily or nonchalantly dream of playing the field at school with girls who are younger them; one becomes more inherently and curiously interested in the idea of almost being able to play the field with scores of older women who are 18 and up. That line really does push a stake into one’s brain and remind them: “You are to start thinking like an adult, or you’ll forever be a child.”

But women are but one aspect of growing up. There are virtues and principles, responsibilities and actions to be considered and prepared for. Working at professions that require employees 18 and up; being able to sign binding contracts, pay taxes and owe credit and monetary bonds to the State, being able to marry legally and travel and explore without permission from a guardian or benefactor. There are men who become 18 who sign their lives away by joining the military or who stay within the perimeters of their parents and avoid taking on the challenging and daunting reins of independence. There are men who rise up to the occasion and take on the world declaring they are ready to stand on their own and make their mark.

I still can only imagine what type of man I will be; I still struggle and reflect daily on who I am right now. Principles and virtues and responsibilities remain my fields of battle, and I have until I turn 18 to train and kink out the enemies of vice, laziness, and unpreparedness from my character. Once I turn 18, and really once all men and women turn 18, they are thrust into the “adult world”, ready for it or not.


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