It’s been approximately two months since I turned eighteen.
I’ve yet to buy a lotto ticket, a pack of cigarettes, or any porn.
I don’t even have my license. And I keep wondering if it’s weird or not that I’ve yet to do all these things that so many kids younger than already have. Truthfully, I haven’t done these things because I don’t have the time and I’m lazy, but it was my choice not to press any of them. For so long I thought that turning eighteen would turn me wise, and allow me to know everything, but I don’t. And I probably won’t, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Life doesn’t change because your age went up a year, life changes because you allowed for the changes. The year that passes through those changes is just time to learn what we can.
I was about fifteen when I first really heard more than just a few sentences on feminism. I read articles on the Riot Grrrl movement and was deeply moved by Tavi Gevinson’s blog. As she’s a year younger than me, I thought I should probably read up. I started searching the interwebs for articles about feminism and learned what SlutWalk was, and the different groups in feminism and how all voices could be represented more. I learned that my body, was my body, and that my voice was really the only one that mattered regarding it. And I specifically remember in my sophomore year global class saying “Well I’m not the biggest feminist, but obviously hitting a woman is wrong” when we talked about English feminism (that sentence literally makes me want to crawl into a ball and hide away somewhere where no one can find me).
But this isn’t about me taking a stand on feminism, and what I may or may not believe. This is about realizing that we all make our own choices, whether we’re fifteen or forty-five. My first boyfriend (also my current) and I have been together for almost two years. It freaks my parents out when they realize that I’m in a serious and committed relationship, but what I chose to do in my relationship is my business, and my choice. Why should what other people think of me have anything to do with those choices as long as I’m respecting myself? The truth is we all do it- we all pass judgment on one another, saying “She’s a slut”, and “God, she got with like, ten guys on Saturday”. But who are we to talk? Whether you’re a minor or not, everything we do is our own choice. What right do we have to make comments on someone else’s life?
And what right do we have to comment on someone else’s beliefs, or views, or anything of the sort? We choose our paths and whether we agree with them or not, we all deserve the same respect for those choices. So we make mistakes, we realize that not everything we choose is the right choice for us. But that’s the thing- these are the choices for us, not for anyone else. We may have no idea what we’re doing now, and the truth is, we may never know. But as long as we’re doing what we think is right for us, as long as we realize the risks and are willing to take them, there is nothing wrong with screwing up.
I may be eighteen, and I may not have done a lot of things, mundane or not, but I know that I have the rest of my life to figure what I want to do with it. It’s something I can decide as I move along. And if I decide in two minutes that I know what I want, then that’s perfectly fine too. There’s no age that grants you the gift of wisdom, no matter how many times our elders may tell us that they know it all. I’m only eighteen. I have the rest of my life to buy a lotto ticket.