So here I stand, on the precipice overlooking that funny thing called adulthood. In a scant few hours, my age will have three syllables and people will expect different things of me. My family makes a big deal out of ages that are prime, or perfect squares or cubes, and this is the first prime in a long time. Other than that, seventeen isn’t really a big deal. Nothing changes legally. (Well, I’ll be allowed into R-rated movies, but it’s not like I wasn’t going to those anyway before.) Still can’t vote (and don’t get me started on how frustrating that timing is). Still can’t die for my country, or smoke, or get a tattoo (all things I don’t particularly intend to do ever, but still).
But there’s something vaguely synesthetic about that number that scares me. Look at it: 17. For one thing, it’s odd. Odd numbers are somehow sharper, more aggressive and intimidating. Seven is the most extreme of those, with its pinched-up, cunning face. If seventeen were a person, it’d wear studded denim jackets and carry a pocketknife and a comb in the same sleeve. It’d bum soggy cigarettes off strangers, and grind their smoldering remnants into a puddle with a pointy cowboy boot. It’d drive a pickup at night with AC/DC turned up to eleven.
So I’m a little bit afraid of it. Maybe part of that has to do with the totally unfeasible timeline my eleven-year-old self imagined for my future: I distinctly remember thinking, “Okay, deal with that whole global warming thing by eighteen, and then become a vet.” Or maybe it’s really about college apps, or something else entirely. Whatever the reason, I am definitely not looping The Sound of Music and mourning my inner child tonight, no sir.
My inner child is just fine, thanks, and she’s wearing a crown to school tomorrow.