Society sends mixed signals about getting older, being adult


photo or infographic by Charnell Haywood

Society sends mixed signals at a young age telling the youth they can do more even though they are restricted.

Turning a year older is always fun, but can be scary too. Driving is allowed at 16. Voting is permitted at 18. Drinking alcohol and smoking has to wait until the ripe old age of 21, but at the movies, age 13 is considered an adult. 

Society sends mixed signals at a young age telling the youth they can do more even though they are restricted. 

Starting at age 15, where legally a teenager can get a permit to drive and also get a job, but with restrictions on hours. So learning to drive and about to enter the workforce it is important that everyone knows that this is not something to play around with. Driving is serious and can put the lives of people all around you in danger. Deaths range to over 14,000 in 2017 on Texas roads. When a person enters the workforce, no one is responsible for them but themselves. The person will be treated as an adult and people should not have to baby them. Yet, typically at this age many 15 year olds are not working and jobs do not hire that age. 

Moving to 16 where a teenager can get their license and get a job. Typically 16 is where most jobs will hire and usually that is the age where a decision is made to get a job. Probably won’t see a lot of teenagers getting their license at 16, but some do. Others will start on their permit. 

On to 17 where a teenager can serve real time in prison. That means no more juvenile. It’s important to be mindful because at this age, prison is nothing to play with. To think there will be ages 17 and up in the same jail, so really a 17 year old is really the baby in a big playground of grown people. Also at this age a single movie ticket for a rated R movie can purchase. All the times a teenager had to bring their parents to purchase a movie ticket, now they can do it by themselves. So basically 17 is an adult in the government’s eyes. Parents still support 17 year olds, but federally they are adults.

But, it’s not until 18 is hit when a teenager is actually considered an “adult”. Eighteen means one can join the military, vote, gamble in some states and get a tattoo. At this age as well, get ready to smile because this age must renew their license. Eighteen is no longer a minor. 

Yeah 21. Smile again because it’s time to renew the license once more. This age can legally drink and supervise a learner driver. Twenty one is a turning point in life because people may now actually see a kid now as an adult. 

Life is short. Everyone has a point in their life where they want to hurry their years. Enjoy every second of life because the clock doesn’t turn back. Society may not be sure what age a child turns into an adult, but life is a gift and some young people don’t make it to adulthood. So be thankful for life and celebrate turning a year older every year. Tomorrow is never promised so live life to the fullest every day.