Where I live, turning 16 is almost synonymous with a Sweet 16 – a glamorous event involving a venue, candles, and a dad-daughter dance. The party is meant to celebrate the space between adolescence and adulthood, the final leap into womanhood, and if you’re a guest, the night is full of sweet toasts and blanked out dancing. For the birthday girl (me), it’s a struggle between feeling old and feeling young.
In a New York Times article, Jane Coaston writes that her childhood struggle was the hurried push to not be a kid, but I disagree. My struggle, like so many others’, is feeling a perpetual limbo between childhood and adulthood. My generation is childlike in many ways, as the Minion craze displayed, but we are also thoughtful and mature. We are increasingly aware of climate change, gun violence, and the dangers of polarization, and we voice our thoughts when Congress dithers. Our acute awareness is a direct result of the digital and political age we live in, but if that’s the case, where do we fit in?
In the end, I figure I’m just 16. I’m part of a newer generation that has begun to flow, not yet an adult but not quite a child, living in between rules and spontaneity. Also, my Sweet 16 is tomorrow.