Reflections on turning eighteen.

Scribbles from Lydia Wilkins' notebook
Scribbles from Lydia Wilkins' notebook

Back in March, I (finally) turned eighteen. At last! Voting, ever since I decided to take politics as an A level, was very important to me; needless to say, I was pleased to finally gain this right. But this had me thinking; what’s so special about eighteen? We think of it as being such a ‘big deal’. But why? Why the importance?

We now ostensibly qualify as ‘adults’, in the legal sense; this has greater traction. But surely what’s synonymous with that is that we begin to take greater responsibility? But this isn’t a snap change in terms of personality; the people I know who have since turned eighteen didn’t just suddenly change over night. Neither did I. We aren’t, in this respect, ‘fully formed’ yet.

Another right we get is the vote. Personally, as I’ve already stated, this is important to me; but as I’ve seen in various scenarios-online with social media, in social situations-many people my age are not sure who to, or what policies, to vote for. (We’re aware of politics-and I think more so than ever before-but we just aren’t sure as to what way to vote.) There’s a degree of ambivalence surrounding this. This was perhaps the most important ‘right’ with regards as to what was so special about turning eighteen.

And we can drink in a pub or other fancy establishment now! (There’s something ‘grand’ about purchasing your first drink, I think, something almost celebratory.) I think that also has a certain freedom surrounding it.

But we do not remain eighteen forever; the novelty in these new found rights I guess will probably wear off. Just what is so ‘special’ about turning eighteen? I’ve been debating this question for a little while now, as you can probably tell.

If you ask me, it’s about the formulation of you as a person; we’ll be completing college, or an apprenticeship, possibly going to University, or straight into the workplace. To anyone, that would be quite the transition; managing finances, living by your own (maybe), working for yourself. The thought of this scares me at times-as a sudden change-and I haven’t even sat my exams yet! We have a new found freedom, and I think that there’s something powerful in that. That is what Eighteen is about to me-moving on, into this big ol’ world.

Currently I’m listening to: Not That Kind by Anastacia. (I love the song ‘Yo Trippin’). And this month I have read The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath.