I turn 17 today. What now?

In my previous post, I reflected on my life in the past 16 years and made a vow to try to steer my life in the right direction.

But there was one major component of that vow that I forgot and that I feel is often forgotten my the average human being: HOW?

When we were born, they gave us all the essentials: a much-needed bath, blankets, milk, and circumcision if we were so inclined but the genius nurse and doctor neglected to give me something that would have really helped the last 16 years go by much easier: a map.

Not America’s map or Dora’s map, MY MAP.

Where the FUdge is the directions to my place in life?
What am I supposed to do? Wander around for a decade or so until I plop down at a convenient place?

Um, excuse me but I can’t even find most of the classrooms in my school.

It’s fustrating to see so many people my age (or YOUNGER) who have a better idea and plan of where they’re going than I do. Some may tell me, “Oh you’re just a teenager. Don’t worry about it now.”


Also, I feel it slightly odd how adults like to balance telling us to “take it easy” with “if you don’t go to a good college, you’ll end up homeless and ugly.”

I’ve seen the numbers. Jobs aren’t looking too great in this (once) great country of ours.

But it’s not just about jobs. It’s about purpose.

“Everyone is good at something,” the old saying goes. So… what about me?

WAIT. Don’t tell me I have to figure this out too!

So now I have 1) Find out my talent 2) Find a job with it 3) Find a purpose 4) Don’t die alone.

This was not within the contract!

Maybe I’m one of the only 17 year olds who has the time to think about this and I guess overthinking things disrupt the easy flow of things that seem to work out for other people, but you have to admit this is a lot.

I remember when all I had to do was make sure I was breathing and the pee went in the toilet, not in my pants.

Now, there’s so many gray areas, so many responsibilities, so many thrusts by different people in this way or that.

It’s like someone just plopped me in the middle of a war zone, handed me a butter knife, and told me to learn how to survive until the end.

All the other soldiers on the field seem so self-assured. They know what they’re doing. They have machine guns and samurai swords (because even though they aren’t as advanced, they’re still awesome). They’re almost out of the battle.


I’m trying to run back to headquaters with my butterknife.

The vow I had made involved me running back into the battlefield head up, shoulders back, and heart strong, but I’m going to get killed if I’m not properly trained, if I don’t have a proper strategy.

There’s a part of me that’s screaming out for attention. That’s the part that tells me she wants to be someone someday so she doesn’t die without making some kind of noticeable impact on the world.

Then there’s the other part that’s too scared because the goals are too big, the obstacles too high, and the person too small.

I wonder how my mom felt when she held me in her arms the night I was born. I wonder what little me thought when she caught her first sight of life outside the womb.

Everyone has a moment like this and no one realizes how beautiful the moment is until it happens to them.

We plop out of this world mainly the same: crying, bloody, fragile, and scared. Everything else after that is mostly environment.

It’s amazing how everyone in this world is so different from each other but we all perform a lot of the same functions.

A lot of people say they’re losing faith in humanity but, to me, humanity is one of the most incredible things ever created. It was built in a way so that everyone had something to offer. A smile, possibly, to put on someone’s face.

My plan for my 17th year, quite simply, is this:

-Have fun.
-Work hard.
-Make others smile.

Life is too short for specifics.


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