In just over two months I will be turning 18, and with that a new level of adulthood that I don't know I am ready for.
For the past two or three years, I have been looking toward that day with growing dread. I'm in my senior year. Twelve months from now I will be living on my own for the first time in my life. So many new responsibilities will pile on all at once that I feel totally unprepared for, despite my mother's best efforts.
It's like I'm going to be thrown in water over my head and told to sink or swim. I will have to pay my own bills, buy my own food, make sure that I eat something other than microwave popcorn for three meals a day.
In the past year or so, I have made stumbling steps forward: I got my first job, started classes at the community college, and even figured out how to make something that vaguely resembles an omelet, but at the same time, I know I'm still so far from where I need to be. I mean, sure, I could talk about the life of President Garfield for hours and diagram a sentence like nobody's business, but I still don't know exactly what it means to change the oil in a car, or how you would go about doing it.
I had to do taxes for the first time last year, and even with my dad's help I still have no idea how any of that works. I'm being told that I'm going to be an adult when I don't feel like I am that far out of middle school.
Even with all this uncertainty and fear, there is still a part of me that is excited. It reminds me of the "Lord of the Rings" movies — whenever I watched them, I always thought how I would rather just stay in the Shire. It always seemed so calm and peaceful. I know that at heart, I am nothing more than a very tall hobbit.
I have never really seen the appeal for adventures outside of daydreams. Actual adventures always seemed hard and dangerous and frightening, like a roller coaster that I really didn't want to ride.
But now, when I am on the cusp of my own adventure, I think I get it. Going out and trying to survive in an unknown world, exploring the possibilities of life like some modern day Lewis and Clark, every day bringing new things to experience.
So while I am still terrified at all the unknown that lies ahead of me, I have confidence that I will be all right. Maybe the best thing is for me to be thrown in water over my head so that I can learn to swim on my own. I mean, if everyone else has survived college, then why can't I?