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Nuyen, Jasmine. I am 18 now!

I AM 18 NOW!!

My life belongs to me, I can do whatever I want!

During summer vacation, we, my sister and myself, decided to spend the time usefully so instead of spending time in I-phone, we focused on researching and experiencing of life. I select this subject “I am 18 now...” and here is my little text. I invite my friends (and parents) to give me more input, please!

18, the first step down the path of legal adulthood, where you are introduced into a vast world full of rights and responsibility. Turning 18 now means that I have the right to move out of my family home and live on my own. But is it really my right to do so?

Immediately, most 18 year-olds will agree that it is their right to move out and be independent from their family. I agree, but after giving it much more thought I learned that being independent isn’t as “freeing” as many think. There really is no such thing as independence.

For instance, decisions that are made not only affect me, but other people as well. Every decision that I make has its toll on family. When I move out, I definitely will not cut off my ties to the family. Whether I choose to drive, apply for a job, or apply for college or not needs to run by the family first. I need to know how my decisions may affect them before I can actually act on it. Not learning how to drive means that my mother will continue having to give rides to me and my two sisters back and forth from the many extra-curriculars we are involved in. Not applying for a job means that my father will continue being the only source of income our family of five has. Not applying for college means that I might not have the chance to support anyone in the future.

In life, I have received all sorts of help, favors, concerns from others. My parents, teachers, neighbors, friends and once, a stranger assisted me from an incident on the street. I have lived with others, owing others and naturally I have to give to myself by leaving in return?

“Your life belongs to others as much as it belongs to you,” my grandfather says. “Your body is not your own, your life is not your own. Everything you think, everything you do will either affect us directly, or indirectly.” He says, “when there is someone out there who loves you, there is someone out there you owe.” You owe that someone your love back and maybe that is one reason to stay at home and earn profit to help support yourself and your family or do other things in return.

My grandfather told my sister and me a story once, about a mother---it applies to most mothers, if not, all mothers. The story makes me appreciate my mom a lot more than I have before.

“A mother sits by her child’s bedside. He has been sick only a day but his mom is stressed and worried over a fever that will be gone by tomorrow. She stays there with him as the day goes on and tends to his needs. When he needs a glass of water or something to eat, she immediately gets what is needed for the boy’s recovery. By the time night comes, the mother is still awake, checking her child’s temperature every hour, adjusting the blankets every hour. She falls asleep sitting in the chair adjacent to the bed frame with her head on the bed. She wakes up in the most uncomfortable position she has ever been in. Her body aches all over. And when the child awakes, the ends of her mouth instantly pull upwards into a smile. She no longer feels the pain she did seconds ago. She suffers through worry and physical pain all for the sake of her son’s health.”

The mother did not stay by her son’s bedside because she was forced to. It was not her responsibility, nor was she asked to take care of her own son. She chose to suffer through few hours of sleep and uncomfortable sleeping circumstances because of love. Mothers do the things they do because they love you. And because of that one simple act of love, you owe someone.

“Your life belongs to others as much as it belongs to you.” Maybe he’s right. What do you think?

My dear friends (and parents), can you give your guidance and experiences?

Jasmine Nuyen

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