Culturally speaking, we celebrate a lot of milestone birthdays.
Yay! You survived the first year! (That goes for parents and baby!)
I’m pretty sure no one wants to add a milestone birthday to that ample list, but I think we’re missing an opportunity. We really should be celebrating seventeen. The seventeenth birthday is the antici- to the eighteenth’s -pation. It’s the climax moment in the story of childhood. And yet it’s not really noticed. It comes and goes, sandwiched between sixteen and eighteen like a slice of leftover ham.
But if you take a good look at seventeen, it’s an amazing year.
- Really starting to figure things out but not being expected to make decisions yet
- A year of possibilities – deciding where to apply to college, or whether to go into the military – without having to make a real decision
- The time in your life when you get your first job and find your first love
- The time in your life when you leave your first job and learn about heartbreak
- A year of getting your feet wet in the real world, but still having the full security of home behind you
- A time when friends are everything, school really matters, and you live for dances and parties
- A point in life when you start truly prioritizing, even though you still slip sometimes
- Your final countdown to the kick-start of your adult life
In other words, seventeen is your last official year of childhood. It deserves to be recognized, cherished, and enjoyed. It should be savored.
To all the seventeen-year-olds out there, I see you. I know that the idea of becoming an adult is somewhere between exciting and terrifying. It’s rushing at you head-long, and there is no stopping that fate.
You have one more year of your childhood. Embrace it. Enjoy it for all that it is. Celebrate like there’s no tomorrow.
This post is for MiMi on her seventeenth birthday. I can’t believe it’s here. I really can’t. But all I can say is, “damn, girl… you’re amazing.” We all love you!