16 going on 17


Me and LIndsay Hoffman,11, at Sept. 6’s Football game against Loisburg. 6 Days before my 17th Birthday. (Photo by I.Williams)

Hannah Smith, Editor in Chief

As a human you only have a 2.5 x 10^-11% chance of actually being alive and actually being you (that’s a one in 4 trillion chance). Yet, here I am; I’m alive and breathing and writing and about to turn 17. 

Last year when I turned 16, I let it pass without much hurray. I don’t like birthday parties and the idea of spending a ton of money on an expensive dinner sounded horrible. So on the birthday that is supposed to signify my coming of age. I tried out for the musical, drove home, and ordered Chinese food, and ate it with my parents and a friend. My mom made me homemade mac and cheese to take for my school lunches, and I moved on. After years of hearing about how your sweet 16 was supposed to be some big deal, it seemed like nothing. However, as I sit here on the edge of 17 everything seems different. More than that, 17 feels… old. 

Over the summer, I spent a lot of time at the hospital with my grandpa. The nurses would ask me how old I was, and I could always see the surprise in their eyes when I said 16 instead of something older. Then somehow all the respect I had earned in any previous conversation was lost and all of a sudden they had to double check when I asked for things and didn’t want to listen to what I had to say. However, one time I slipped up and told a nurse I was 17. I’m not even sure why. She didn’t seem surprised and things didn’t change; she asked me if I was thinking about college. From then on I started lying. Seventeen shouldn’t be that much different from 16, but it is. 

Seventeen, to me, means that “Real Life” is knocking on my door and before long I’m going to have to answer it. I’m going to have to figure out what my life is supposed to look like. What my goals, my aspirations, my dreams are? Despite the years of having teachers make me take quizzes, and lecture me about my options, and even having conversations with my family about it I still don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t have any answers that seem right. 

There is this quote in the “Bell Jar” by Sylvia Plath it’s really long, but the jest of it is that all her options in life are figs and because she can’t pick any one fig that they will all die and she will as well. And sometimes despite myself, I sometime feel this way too. I feel this pressure to pick right now when I barely even know who I am let alone make decisions that will effect my eventual family. 

I don’t know where my life it going, but there is one thing I do know. In the next two to three years I’m to lose figs and grow new ones, and when the time comes I’ll pick one and if I don’t like that one I’ll do my best to grow a better one. Everyone talks about life like it’s something that once you enter it, you are never allowed to change it. I don’t know, but as I sit here about to be 17 the only thing I do know is that tomorrow is here and that I will pick a fig for the day and hope it’s the right one. 

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