On turning 17


Kokona Watanabe

Lin Meyers poses for her photo at Kilauea, Hawaii a week after her birthday.

Lin Meyers, Blog

I turned 17 on a Thursday, a day when I had a math test. It was not hard, but it was not easy. I studied a fair amount the night before. For my birthday I wanted to ace it; however, I don’t know if I did.

When I remembered I was turning 17 on Sunday, 3 days before my birthday, I was hit. Not hit by a car or object, but hit by the emotion of sadness. Why is time flying by so fast? How much time do I have left? Will I be able to get into college next year?

On my birthday I was told “Happy Birthday” and “You are getting so old” and I thought I am getting old. Not old to the point where I can’t walk or talk, but to the point where I have to get serious about my life. I have a job and now I have to pay taxes, something I never thought I would have to do until I graduated college.

My day went on. I kept thinking about my future. How will I get into college? Do I even know what I want to do? What happens if I regret my decisions? 

As I continued to question myself I remembered something: when I was 15 I aspired to go to the same college as my brother to prove to my parents that private schools do not guarantee a better education. But I didn’t remember my brother ever stressing over the idea of what he wanted to do in life. He didn’t seem to mind getting older; he embraced it.

I tried to find the positives of getting older: I can get my own place, shop on my own time, go anywhere I want to go. Maybe getting older won’t be so bad. But how will I support myself? Do I need to get a job in college? This was the most stress that I ever felt in my life.

Then I had swim practice. An easy practice with sprints, something I do not like. My coaches did not know that it was my birthday, but it did not matter. I wanted to go home and sleep, to get away from all my stress. But everyone on the swim decided to make my birthday known. The captain of the swim team shouted “It’s Lin’s Birthday!” I wanted to cry, but something inside me also felt happy.

I went home and my parents made my favorite dinner: pasta. My dad and mom gave me a gift, something I will treasure forever. They said, “you can wear this for the rest of your life.” A necklace, something I can carry with me every day. I thought about all the stress I had and began to think about how temporary it all is. Growing up is a part of life, not something that I can stop. I have to enjoy life while it lasts.

Then I thought…

Stress is only temporary and it is good to grow up.