So, I’m an adult now

Graphic by Christian Brown.
Graphic by Christian Brown.

By the time this newspaper is published, I’m going to be 18. It’s a simple fact, but it still feels unreal. I don’t feel like a young adult. I don’t even look like a young adult – I’ve been asked three times this year whether I’m a freshman or sophomore, and when I was an underclassman, security tried to kick me out of the building because they thought I was a middle schooler.

And I’m not sure I’m excited for my birthday this year. In my last column, I wrote that I loved the second semester of the year because I celebrated a birthday every month. And, because it was during summer break, I celebrated my birthday three times – one early in December with my friends, one with a dinner with my parents and my brother, and one in Goiânia with my extended family. This year, I’m barely celebrating once.

I tend to analyze everything in my life as if I were reading a novel – it would be written by Lemony Snicket, by the way – and the fact that I’m not really celebrating my first birthday as an adult… It’s almost like a bad metaphor for my transition from childhood to adulthood. I’ve fantasized about this birthday since my first year of high school, and though I’m writing this a week before the 19th, I know that it will be nothing like I imagined: In Brazil, surrounded by my best friends and family in a churrascaria and being all full of myself for finally being able to drink, vote and drive.

I’ve always had my head stuck in the clouds. I’m optimistic, I create stories and conversations and scenes, and I kind of believe in them. I daydream, as a young woman does. But when we become adults, I think we have to relinquish this habit. I’m not saying I can’t foster imagination or believe in the magic of Christmas – how could I be a successful writer if I didn’t? – But life is unpredictable and is complicated. We just don’t realize it because we live in a routine; we are sheltered and comfortable. We see the same teachers every day and our loved ones are almost a natural presence. But sometimes, your brother will not be able to change shifts, and your friends won’t afford a plane ticket – and neither will you. But just because this December 19th wasn’t what I expected, it doesn’t mean it won’t be good. And if it does end up being bad, well, the Baudelaires may have had a series of unfortunate events – but it sure was one heck of a journey.

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