Turning 18

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Turning 18 – Becoming Aware

I have always been confidant in who I am, but when I turned eighteen I started to question, “Am I an adult or am I still a kid?” I really am not sure, and feel that this question is a necessary one to answer in order to truly know myself. I want to find out if I have changed going to the Oxbow boarding school, and if being eighteen really means that I have to grow up. I am legally an adult to the government, but I also know that I am not an emotionally and mentally fully mature person yet. Am I immature for my age? Should I have already grown up? “What does it mean to grow up-to be an adult?” To be a successful adult means that a person is emotionally and mentally aware of themselves, can be self-reliant, engages in healthy relationships, and takes responsibility for the choices they make. What does it legally mean to be an adult? An adult to the government is an eighteen-year-old person, who can vote, write a will, get medical treatment on their own, and the most relevant to my project is completely independent from parental control. I do not technically live with my parents anymore, but still I don’t feel independent. I have yet to decide if this means that my boarding school is too strict or if I subconsciously do not want to be independent from my home and family. When a person turns eighteen there are also the downsides of being an independent adult. An legal adult can be tried in an adult court and can go to jail, parents do not have to support their children anymore, they are eligible for jury duty, and can start to receive taxes. Even though these new “responsibilities” may be too much for an eighteen-year-old to handle, it is the law. It’s not turning a legal adult that scares me; it is that I could be forced to have these responsibilities when I am not ready for them. During my life I have been very sheltered from these adult like responsibilities and hope that being eighteen will not force too many upon me. I think being aware that I am a legal adult and knowing what my new rights are, are both steps toward growing up. However, to say that I am mentally and emotionally ready for such new changes is another question in itself. What does it mean to be an adult who is emotionally and mentally aware of them selves? A fully matured person should be able to be aware of who they are, and in doing so should be aware of their current emotional state. I believe emotional awareness is one key piece leading to a happy and fulfilled life. Knowing how we feel, tells us what we enjoy doing and who we enjoy doing it with. We know whom we feel safe with, accepted by and understood by. “Emotion, which is suffering, ceases to be suffering as soon as we form a clear and precise picture of it.” (Spinoza, Ethics) When a person can become emotionally aware they can truelly know themselves, and know why they do the things they do. Though people might be able to lead a productive life, even a "successful" life, if someone defines success by the level of status, education, or material worth, it is unlikely that person will actually ever be happy unless they are very aware of their specific feelings. The majority of people today try to stop themselves from feeling negative emotions. Many people try to simply deny the existence of their negative feelings. They may use drugs, alcohol or use other entertainment to distract themselves from their problems. Even education, memorization, intellectual or religious beliefs can serve to stop them from acknowledging their true feelings. I know society has played its role in controlling my emotions, and I have become more emotionally aware throughout my high school years. During my sophomore year I learned a lot about myself and grew as a person. I had composed my life around academics and became very academically successful, but I realized I still was not happy. I couldn’t understand it. I seemed to have everything-friends, perfect grades, sports, and art. In time,...
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