One Year Older Towards More Responsibility

As much as I’m looking forward to my seventeenth birthday, which comes up in three days, I feel a large part of me wanting to stay sixteen. I miss all the fun times that I’ve had in life; the moments of laughter and joy. However, there are some particular moments in my life that I do regret; moments that if I could go back in time to right the events that led to disappointment I definitely would. But you know what? There’s no rewind button in life. There’s also no stop or pause button. Because the truth is even if you think you’re in total control of your own life, life often shows that it can still do whatever it wants to you. So, the best to do is just move on and, like I’ve said before, live each moment like it’s my last.

For me, turning seventeen means I’ve got one more year before I reach, what my Resource teacher calls, the age of majority. Not only do you get to do more fun things when you’re eighteen than when you were a considered a minor, you also hold more and more responsibility. Hence, why I titled this column “One Year Older Towards More Responsibility”. You see, life isn’t just fun and games. Turning seventeen to me means the bag of responsibility will become heavier on my shoulder. It means I have to be ready to accept any challenges that come my way. The choices I make will mean the difference between bringing home my first pay check to support my family or being a disgrace. And although my mind doesn’t like accepting all that, it’s got no choice whatsoever. You see, the one thing about myself that I’m most proud of is even though I can be a lazy bum and not want to do what I’m supposed to do, I continue to bear in mind what my parents expect of me and I use that to push myself forward in determination to better myself. In fact, referencing my “Follow-Up: Asians, Parents, And Success” post, it’s not just the parental guide that matters. This is real life. This is preparation for the real world. And I recognize that.

2 thoughts on “One Year Older Towards More Responsibility

  1. Josh says:

    Bro, you have indeed taken the very words I have thought of in my sleep — I actually finally decided to physically get out of bed again after countless hours of tossing and turning, and not to mention, regretting — and reminiscing years and years of what my own parents and older classmates and role models have told me — out of my very mouth.

    I have indeed lived a few years longer than you, and now, being a freshman student in college, I now slowly feel the tantalizing effects of the real world — the adult world — or what I’ve thought to be of the adult world, rather — creep in on me.

    Earlier this afternoon, I finally decided to call my mom — after having long periods of not having the guts to talk to her, and I was looking forward to sharing with her at least some good news with her, if any, about myself at this current stage in my life, but my hopes grew increasingly dashed when she reiterated the unfortunate news that she and my dad were stressing and flipping out BIG TIME over my academic career and future — and honestly, after she started to sob and break up on the phone — I was on the verge of tears too.

    The incident reminded me of the times when I’ve talked to my hyung, Eric Choi — now a college junior at UC Berkeley — and our numerous talks, where, with a heavy heart, he would also say he did things he now regrets too, and the adult world is not you think it’s going to be — and I heard that constantly beforehand, before actually stepping onto a UC campus — but now that I am actually on one, literally, it’s like another self-fulfilling prophecy is coming true yet again for me.

    And forgive me if I am being hypocritical here too, but I know I’ve been running and hiding as well…

    And now as that dreadful hour approaches, I know what I should do, what I have to do…take action and do something about it. Take control of my destiny and fix it, because it doesn’t have to be this way.

    Now, I will do whatever I can, with the Lord guiding me, I know I have to stop putting my faith into mere dreams, into the false hopes I’ve created, and buckle down and REALLY GET SERIOUS and face a harsh reality, as much as it pains me to.

    But my brother and friend, if you were to seek my advice before graduating high school, I am certain you’ve heard this adage before — “Make the most of what you have right now” — because it’s already happening to me.

    Yes, I feel more confident now being on a University of California campus, it certainly makes me older and more mature than when I was in high school. But it is only up until now when I feel the pains and burdens my older college upperclassmen feel — that feeling of the world weighing on your shoulders — as Atlas felt — it’s a crushing feeling, really.

    But I have to keep telling myself, and believing in myself even more so, that I won’t succumb to this event right now — even though I am indeed in another emotional and mental slump.

    I am praying that I will do better, that I CAN do better…and I am praying for you too my bro.

    God Bless you — during your last year of high school — and God Bless me — during another turning point in my college life — and I pray that everything will be for the better.

    I am praying that these words will not go in vain.

    Take care man, and an early 17th birthday wish for you too. 🙂

  2. Jamal K. says:

    You’ve hit it right on the head dead-center. Being 17 brings more responsibility, but when I become 18, I’m actually looking forward to everything pummeling my face all at once. Now, before you call in the shrinks with the straightjackets, hear me out.

    Moving out will FORCE me to always have active planning, and to stay more steps ahead than I already am in terms of thinking. Being under constant criticism by my mother can really be annoying, but it can also cause my mind to wander in terms of focusing too hard on one thing and losing sight of another. In my whole high school career (this year excluded), I have not gotten a final report card that doesn’t have one D on it. Why is that, you ask? Due to constant fus-erm… criticism, I force myself to focus on that one clss to pull that grade up, which in turn causes another grade to fall. I usually pass my quizzes/tests with grades 80+, but it’s homework that’s the culprit. It’s even gotten so bad that I get criticized for missing one homework assignment. Now, I’m quite the opposite of your stereotypical African-American male: I tend to get good grades (not average, but pass that), into politics (not just Barack Obama, but info like Senate, House of Representatives, etc.), criticize Barack Obama for his economic policies, and like to make sure my pants is up (but of good size). Whenever we and mom argues, she would occasionally call me “a typical ni-“… you get the idea. This has gotten to the point where I’m currently looking for any reason possible to get out of the house and make something of myself. Also, for added measure, I have a “little speech” prepared in my mind for graduation for mom when I leave off for college (which will, hopefully, be New College of Florida or Longwood).

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