A Teenager's Transition Into Adulthood

Time is a peculiar thing.
Units of time are always the same,
But isn’t it funny how some years feel longer than others.
Objectively they aren’t,
But I’m not objective.
And so it is,
This year has been the longest in my life.
I’m only a year older,
But my god the journey from eighteen to nineteen was endless.

On my eighteenth birthday I threw myself a pity-party.
You see,
My ego was suffering from a massive blow.
I made a mistake.
I was inattentive.
I missed a few details about the cost of tuition.
As a result,
I withdrew my enrollment and postponed my education.

Being thrown off course,
I was launched down the rabbit hole.
I felt like a failure,
A strange feeling for a straight A student.

Have you ever felt suspended in time?
I have.
Life goes on,
But somehow you are standing still.
I spent the better part of eighteen in that limbo.
In my mind,
I lost my chance to be successful.
My friends moved on.
All I wanted was to be in school like them.
I couldn’t do that at the time;
I guess I wasn’t ready to accept reality.
I definitely wasn’t ready for responsibility,
Though my family’s worsening financial situation could have benefited had I been.

My mother was in limbo too,
Although her reasons were different than mine.
Her body had grown weary,
A few major surgeries can do that sort of thing.
With her newfound limitations,
She turned to permanent disability to provide relief.
Unfortunately,
the waiting period for that sort of thing borders on eternal.
It can be difficult to keep your family afloat without income.
There was some money,
But it was finite.
We spent some months burning through our funds,
And before we knew it,
We found ourselves on the brink of homelessness.

I didn’t know where to turn,
And here I was all these months worried about falling behind.
I never once gave a thought about not having a home.
The threat of homelessness put things into perspective.
Other problems tend to look small in comparison.
Suddenly,
My feelings of shame evaporated.
Who knew adversity could help me shed my feelings of inadequacy?
I realized then,
My life doesn’t have to follow a standard trajectory.

My cousin offered to let me stay with her,
So back to California I went.
For the first time in my life,
I was without parental supervision.
It was a strange feeling.
Now,
If I was going to be responsible,
It had to be of my own volition.
I got a job at a coffee shop,
Which satisfied my inner coffee lover.

While I worked to help with my family’s bills,
My mother continued her limbo right where I left her.
And while I lived with my cousin,
She lived across the country with my aunt.
But trouble approached paradise.
While I enjoyed a morning ride to downtown SF,
I got a call.
You could hear the distress in my mother’s voice,
And I found out then that I had no choice.
My cousin wanted funds that I couldn’t provide,
And it was decided,
I had to go.

Luckily my mother’s best friend was there.
She paid for my way back home.
I was grateful.
After all this,
I craved stable ground.

So I’m back in Alabama,
The place from which I ran.
But my attitude has significantly changed.
I’ve grown to appreciate the things that I have,
For there are those with nothing at all.

After some growing pains,
I understand my responsibility.
I did some searching,
And found a new job.
Although I’m barely making it,
I feel good knowing I’ve tried.

I’ve started the process of enrolling in school again,
And this time I’ll do it right.
Perhaps my new sense of responsibility,
Will help me avoid my former plight.
So eighteen and nineteen are very different indeed.
It’s funny how one year can feel like an eternity.
So there you have it,
A year in poetry.

This poem is about: 
Me

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