Extinguishing the candles

On January 19, I turned 17. 

With a deep, lasting breath, I prepared to blow out the candles and shut down the lights of the year of 16. 

In the time of one small year, a lot has changed in my life. I became the only child in my home, I got my first car, and I learned who my true friends are. 

As I drew in my final breath as a 16-year-old girl, I realized I would be opening the doors to my final year of being a child—at least technically. 

Although I will still live at home and rely in part on my parents when I turn 18, I will have become an adult.  

It’s hard to imagine that in one mere year, I could make any decisions for myself and independently, for all I have ever known is a life of dependency. 

Every decision is now your  own to make.”

Grasping ahold of the idea that I am only a child for 364 more days seems impossible. The thought of moving away from my childhood home and leaving behind the friends I have known from the first day of my life has always seemed so far away, but now I can see it clearly—as clearly as looking through a bulky set of binoculars. 

As independence stares my life in the eyes, my mind traces back the memories residing within my thoughts. My childhood consisted of easygoing days, inspirational figures, and valuable lessons, and now is the time where they all fall into place; each moment and its purpose lead me to early adulthood and a new life on my own.

The careless days as a child seem to fly by; each calendar day crossed off as the sun sets and dusk falls over the sky. As the countless stars align, each one is a lesson learned guiding you to a bright future and pushing you towards a life on your own. 

There will be no more need for a signature from your mom or dad. You won’t have to text them to spend the night at a friend’s house. Every decision is now your own to make, but so many of the answers to the questions you will face are already residing deep within you. Every year of life so far has taught you how to handle the challenges and decisions and independent life may throw your way. 

With one long blow, I released my final breath of age 16 and extinguished the wavering, flickering birthday candles. As their lights went out, a new year began. 

My final year as a child.