It is the eve of my seventeenth birthday and I have been trying to think of something exciting that I will now be able to do that I couldn’t do before. I remember the excitement of my sixteenth birthday, the list was infinite; it ranged from being able to ‘choose a GP’ – every sixteen year old’s dream – to ‘pilot a glider’. Although I did originally plan to take advantage of all of these, I decided changing my name, leaving school, getting married and joining the army probably wasn’t my parents ideal plan for me. So instead I got my national insurance number through the post, bought a lottery card and had a glass of wine with dinner.
Now whilst I am champing at the bit to be released into the clubs of Portsmouth and buy some fireworks, turning seventeen does open up some really exciting opportunities. In the world of Harry Potter I would now legally be allowed to apparate from place to place, far faster and probably much more eco-friendly than a broomstick, a flying car or Hagrid’s motorbike. However, since I live in the real world my prospects are slightly less exciting (although just as daunting). Driving, I believe, is the real sign of finally having grown up. It is always something that your parents do, something that only adults are allowed the privilege of. I never really gave it a thought before, it was a means of getting from one place to another; but suddenly I am examining how to leave a roundabout exit, asking what the road signs mean and yelling at the drivers that cut up my sister as we drive along in ‘Hamish’, her ugly but characterful Peugeot 106. The prospect of being set loose on the roads has suddenly becoming terrifying. However, the fact that even my 80 year old grandparents still manage to drive along the twisting country roads of Morpeth without crashing seems to suggest to me that really, it can’t be that difficult, can it?
So, I embark with some caution into the seventeenth year of my life, looking forwards to the many challenges it will inevitably present; not only in the form of driving but also of my exams and my mission to get through all one thousand of the books on the shelves of my house (although unfortunately all Harry Potter has been banned by my parents for not being ‘appropriately challenging’). I hope that it will be a year of great enjoyment and personal growth for me and I am looking forwards to seeing where I will be in a few years’ time.
Chaucer, here I come!
If anyone would like to find out what they are able to do at their current age, click on the link below: