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Turning 18

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Adolescents are known for wanting to be older than they are. From a young age we become fond of our older siblings, cousins, and other relatives, wanting to be just like them; an interest in the idea of becoming older.

What happens when you finally become a legal adult?

It is much different than what I expected. Each year, as I neared 18, my expectations decreased. Besides worrying about the driving curfew, I thought nothing would change. I still had to go to school and abide by my parents’ rules. I was still a kid. I wouldn’t have to make any life-altering decisions until college.

I was wrong. For the most, part anyway.

In the two months since I turned 18, I’d been hit with financial and life decisions that I was completely unprepared for. I received a letter from the office of the Secretary of State asking if I would want to be an organ donor. My immediate reaction was yes. Of course, I want to help those in need after I have passed. I won’t need those parts of me anyway, right? However, after talking to my parents about their fears on the subject, I was at a standstill. I had never been so afraid of what the future held for me. What will happen when I die was one of the many questions swarming my head. Though I now have the ability to make my own decisions, I still relied on my parents for advice. Is it bad if I take it?

Later that month, I realized I needed to go to the doctor. My mom always warned me I would need to go by myself at some point, but I never paid any mind to it.

“Do you have your ID?” the receptionist asked.

I didn’t. It hadn’t occurred to me that I would need to carry my ID everywhere I went, even if I wasn’t driving.

“Ok well, your mom can cover you this time, but next time you need to bring it,” she said.

I was relieved and terrified at the same time. The receptionist began handing me paperwork I had only seen my mom fill out while I played on my phone. Without her, I would’ve been lost, and probably called her in a huge panic. By myself, I couldn’t even remember my ID, much less correctly fill out paperwork. I had to ask her about my social security number and who my provider for insurance was, all for some small bumps on my arm and stomach. I went in by myself, that being my decision, but the final curveball was walking into a male doctor.

That in itself was the hardest thing to wrap my head around. My mom always requested a female doctor primarily for her own comfort. This is what I had been used to since I was 12 years old. Now, I had to speak up for myself if I felt uncomfortable and wanted a female doctor. Because it wasn’t a major issue, I kept the doctor I was given, assuring myself that I was safe without my mom being there to protect me.

The amount of fear I have accumulated these past few months was caused by the realization that in some ways, if not all, I won’t be protected by my parents anymore. That petrifies me to the core.

Reflecting on this, I have learned that it’s alright to be scared. I have an abundance of people I can ask for guidance in my life. I think I’m excited for this year. I can start to support myself, but I won’t be alone.

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Turning 18