I’m seventeen, what’s the big deal?


I am a newly-crowned seventeen-year-old. It’s odd, really. It doesn’t bring about the promise of being able to drive like turning sixteen does. It doesn’t signify the start of adulthood like eighteen does, either.

Despite its seeming uselessness, the age of seventeen is pop culture’s darling; it can be found everywhere. I’ve already been referred to as the dancing queen (young and sweet, only seventeen!), and my mother has more than once jammed out with me to Stevie Nicks’ “Edge of Seventeen.”

There are movies about the age (see Being 17 or The Edge of Seventeen). Sometimes it feels like the protagonist of every single young adult book is seventeen.

But I think that’s exactly it. Seventeen is the truest age of young adulthood.

It’s the age of in between. Being seventeen is not being a naive child, stumbling through life like a baby deer, trying to takes first steps without falling. Being seventeen is not being an independent adult who moves out and survives on their own. It’s in between.

Because this young adult stage can feel like a year stuck in Father Time’s icy grasp, it’s all too easy to let it become a blowoff year.

While brooding and teenage angst can be romanticized by the media and seem appealing, I don’t want to fall into a slump. I want to make my seventeen years on this earth worthwhile. My life doesn’t have to be put on pause until I’m eighteen. There are so many wonderful and enticing things that I get to do this year.

While seventeen, I’ll get to apply to colleges of interest and possibly even narrow down which one I will attend. While seventeen, I’ll get to participate in the school’s musical for my very first time. While seventeen, I’ll get to meet new people whose impacts have the potential to stay with me forever.

The prospect of new and powerful possibilities is enough for me to promise that I am going to try, to the best of my ability, to make seventeen the best year of my life. Whether I accomplish that through grand and sweeping feats or through small and meaningful interactions is irrelevant. My resolution is simply that I try. Try to be better. Try to do more.

So, when I look around my life, when I hear, see, or read about seventeen-year-olds, I hope that I can feel proud about my own time as one. When I’m old and have experienced many different stages and many different years, I hope that my seventeenth year on Earth is near the top of the list.