I don’t understand how this whole idea of calling a person’s 16th birthday ‘Sweet Sixteen’ was conceived. Did a confectioner obsessed with alliteration do it?
May 5, 1998 was the day I opened my eyes into this world; about 16 years from today. Back then, half the world was busy rejoicing for Karl Marx’s birthday while the other half mourned upon Napoleon Bonaparte I’s death anniversary. So my being bought into this world was pretty much ignored. Now that I turn 16, people will be rejoicing for Chris Brown and Adele’s birthday, while I still haven’t been able to do anything that spectacular for people to remember me.
I asked my dad we’d throw a big party and get me a huge present, because it was supposed to be my special Sweet 16, right? Well, no. He asked me what was so special about it, and then it occurred to me.
Turning 16 is overrated and definitely not ‘sweet’ at all, because, let me break it down for you, nothing much changes- you’re still your old crappy self, bound by more responsibilities and consequently, more expectations.
Being a typical Indian teenager, there is a vast possibility of me being subjected to numerous expectations and aspirations from every direction and dimension I’m known in. I have so many split personalities and people noticing me without me knowing it. I am an aimless 11th grader for my dad, a bad, bad cook for my mom, a crabby sister for my brother, a moody cynical narcissist for my friends and a troubled teen for my journal.
So, needless to say, this is the time brimming with lopsided uncertainty about who you really want to be. You’re neither an adult nor a kid- neither are you eligible to vote nor are you legally allowed to drive. You just hang somewhere between, facing new levels of doubts, feeling insecure about yourself, experiencing worse mood swings and evolving as a new person on the whole. This time reveals so many truths and surprises.
This is the time you realize your dreams. You’re waiting to spread your wings and fly away to unfold your future, yet at the same time, you’re scared what it would be. My dad won’t give up asking what I would do in the future, about how I will survive without a planned career at this age and I won’t giving up tossing the question away with lame excuses. I keep telling him that I will find a job and I will get money but he always seems to interpret this question in a way which seems like I’m saying I’ll be lying destitute on a road ten years down the line.
Being 16, I found myself stuck in a mess called High school. They say it’s the most memorable time in one’s life. I say it can only be memorable if you survive it. Duh. So you find yourself surrounded by bitches with the riches, guys with the looks, clingy creeps and narcissistic know-it-all’s. Somewhere between being the wannabe and being the one everyone wants to be, you find yourself turning into a sociable idiot or a lonely genius, gaining popularity or facing isolation.
You’re losing friends and gaining new ones. You wish you were surrounded with people, but the next moment you’re feeling suffocated in the crowd. You’re developing new kinds of feelings for people around you- love, hatred, jealousy, admiration… They’re way too many for me to list down.
You want to step up, be known for what you do, but suddenly you’re insecurities dawn upon you and you’re afraid you’ll be the laughing stock. Like in The Princess Diaries when Anne Hathaway in the first scene confidently decides to go on the stage to give her speech… but then she pukes. Er.
Then there’s gonna be times when your parents expect you to be ‘mature’ and act accordingly, and the other times when you make a demand for something big, they want you to mind your age. But despite your same old self, it could feel like entering a whole new dimension engulfed in thoughts, feelings and emotions which take their turns on you with time.
Lots of babbling on growing up, but 16 will really prepare you for being 18. It could be the start to something new and an end for something old. My plan of how I’m going to survive this time of my life with all the weird changes would be to stay happy and enjoy it at the most because no matter what, good or bad, it won’t return.
After all, as goes that song by Bon Jovi, “I just wanna live while I’m alive. It’s my life.”
Live your life. Live your dreams. Stay happy and always believe in yourself.
So yeah, enjoy your Sweet whatever 16.