Thoughts on 18

My Kid at 18

My eldest child turned 18 recently. It’s such a strange line, an arbitrary line, a legal line, between childhood and adulthood. Things change and things stay the same.

We held a party for our newly proclaimed adult, and of course my parents were part of it. My mom brought a present — for ME.

Me at 18

It was a poem I’d written on my own 18th birthday decades ago. Mom had framed and adorned it with a miniature version of my senior portrait.

It’s not the world’s best poetry (or prose, perhaps; not sure which I was going for), but it does give renewed insight into what it is like to be in the newborn days of being an adult.

I Am Myself

I am myself
I can be no one else
No one has to put up with me
Except me

As time passes
People come and go
My friends and family aren’t always near
Just me

It’s important that
I can live with myself
I seek approval from no one
Only me

It would be nice
To have everybody like me
But that is just a dream held
By me

So as I go through
Life’s ups and downs
I must always do what’s right
For me

Because I am the only who who is
Me

— Lori Holden, freshman in college

What do you remember being the most challenging part of turning 18?

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This post is part of #MicroblogMondays. Whazzat? A post that’s not too long. Head to Stirrup Queens to join the fun.

Lori Holden's book cover

Lori Holden, mom of a teen son and a teen daughter, blogs from Denver. Her book, The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole, is available through your favorite online bookseller and makes a thoughtful anytime gift for the adoptive families in your life. Lori was honored as an Angel in Adoption® in 2018 by the Congressional Coalition of Adoption Institute.

9 thoughts on “Thoughts on 18”

  1. You were wise beyond your years, lady (still are). I love this poem because of the plain truth that so many of us forget.

    Sending you and your family love as you cross into this milestone together.

  2. 18 was the hardest year for me and my oldest. He is now 19 and still straddling that adult/child line. We are doing better now, but hearing from my son, “I’m an adult, I can do what I want. You can’t tell me what to do,” on repeat for the better part of a year was grating. I see it now for what it was, FEAR. As much as he wanted to be an adult, he feared it might mean me kicking him out into the world alone. We still have our moments, but we have come to an agreement on what it means to be an “adult” living at home….

    I remember turning 18 and thinking, “Cool! I can vote now!” If I gave my parents a hard time, I don’t remember. I was involved in ending my tenure in 4-H and getting off to college, so maybe I was too busy to worry about being an official adult? I should ask my parents what they remember….

  3. At 18 I was at university figuring out who I was, after my exchange year abroad where I learned to be self-sufficient. I was thrilled to be finally on my way to being an adult.

    I didn’t learn some of these lessons – like doing what was right for ME, or learning not to care what people thought – until much, much later though. You were clearly a wise 18-year-old.

  4. Happy 18th birthday to your not-so-little! I love your poem. It’s so true, that new adulthood piece makes you realize that you are responsible for yourself, and you need to be able to put up with yourself! Freedom, but also realization of what that means. Although you seem far more self-assured at 18 than I was pretty much until 40… 🙂 I felt like one of the biggest challenges of new adulthood was transitioning the adult-child relationship to parent-child to parent-adult child, and it was a ROUGH transition in my house. Which is probably why I chose a college that was a state college but at least 5-6 hours away, so I could gain some of that independence and really feel like I was starting out on my own.

    I really love that your mom gifted this poem to you on your daughter’s 18th birthday.

  5. And I am so tearfully grateful that you are you 🙂

    Happy birthday to the girl child!

    I think I was really worried about moving away from home and going to college when I was 18.

  6. Is it weird that I don’t actually remember turning 18? I kept a journal at other times in my teens and 20s, but not at that time.

    Such a thoughtful gift from your mom.

  7. She’s 18, seriously??!

    Turning 18 was a big deal… I was in Grade 12, off to university in the fall. I could vote in the next election, a few months away, AND I could drink! 😉 (18 was & still is legal drinking age where I grew up.) Even though it was about -35C that day (in January), my parents took my sister, two friends & me into the city for dinner & I had my first legal bottle of wine. Mateus — so sophisticated, or so I thought, lol. 😉 I think the most challenging thing was I was so impatient to get my adult life started and leave high school behind. Looking back now, I find myself thinking, “What was the rush?” Adulthood is not always all it’s cracked up to be…! 😉

    Love your poem!

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