Tuesday, April 5, 2011

"Sweetie, You're So Young!" Bite Me............

If I never have to hear the quoted part of my post title again, I will be a very happy woman. It seems that, because I'm on the precipice of graduation, everyone feels the need to give me advice. Some of it is genuinely helpful. Others is unwanted, unnecessary and downright condescending. I understand that I'm young and I have my whole life ahead of me. At the same time, I am a woman with agency, legal standing, and experience and I don't want that discounted.

By bare bones legal definitions, I am an adult. I am over eighteen, so I am considered responsible enough to carry a gun, vote, get married, sign a lease, have consensual sex, pay taxes, be employed full time, sign my own waivers and serve in either the Armed Forces or the Peace Corps. I am over twenty-one, so I am also considered responsible enough to drink alcohol, gamble, and carry a credit card. This is only the legal aspect. I am also an adult by experience.

How am I an adult by experience? I made the choice to go to school far from home. During the time I've been in college, I have held down a job (working nearly full time hours), paid my own bills, paid taxes, traveled by myself both domestically and internationally, lived overseas, made professional networks and gathered experience, and have signed my own leases (without a guarantor). I've escaped potentially dangerous situations in the nick of time, made mistakes, developed relationships and made my own decisions. Even with my more spontaneous decisions, I've managed to make ones that worked for me and learn from the ones I didn't. While I may not be fully developed as a person (who among us is?), I can say I know myself pretty well and I go after what I want.

So, no, I don't want to hear some condescending comment about how young I am and how I still either don't know anything or should not be taken seriously. At this point, age isn't more than a number and I've seen people twice my age act much younger than their years (for better or for worse). I may be young but I am strong and I need to learn for myself. I may fall but I won't break until it's time for me to die. Advice is good but I'm not a five-year-old. I'm an adult who can decide her own future. Please talk to me accordingly.

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