Being Seventeen

It Has Its Quirks

I think I love being a teenager, despite the brutality that comes with it. It’s like you’re in a subcategory of the population for a few years of your life, exempt from paying your own taxes and bills yet given enough freedom and respect to be considered an “almost adult.” When you’re running late in the morning, Dad makes breakfast and coffee for you, and when you come home late for dinner, food is left out in Tupperware containers. Your worries fall somewhere in-between being crushed by a crush, dealing with people you can’t stand, and figuring out how to start the coming years.

There are quirks to being 17. Restaurant waitresses hate you before they see your perfectly calculated tip. When you stop at a light you get once-overs from moms in SUV’s as they await your fated accident, expecting it to happen before green. You are essentially excused from being socially responsible since people assume you’re completely irresponsible in the first place. And half the time you are, so you can’t exactly blame them.

I know that after time the big sunglasses and short shorts will become extinct in my closet, and at some point I’ll have to leave the safe haven of school life. For the time being, it’s nice to accept the luxuries of being a dependent while simultaneously counting the days until I graduate. It’s nice having sort-of freedom.

It seems as if when people look back on adolescent years, it was an alternate reality to them. Everything was a game, they want to say. Some things are part of a game, it’s true. But just because you’re 17 doesn’t mean you’re immune to reality. Just because you’re closer to the beginning than the end doesn’t mean you’re incapable of regret or loneliness.

Yet still, there is that hope that seems to be constantly lingering above your nose as you wait for it to spark, something that completely changes shape later on. I suppose the one thing that makes being 17 (or, as of today, 18 for me) so inexplicably thrilling is that this vast sense of the future softens all the regrets and annoyances. There are still years and years to build yourself, and that’s exciting. It’s why movies and books can’t resist adolescence, and why, when people look back on past years, they can’t resist retelling one or two high school stories. It’s like no other phase, truly.

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