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Published on March 27th, 2018 | by Jones

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Things to look forward to as an 18-year-old

Turning 18 is one of the first age-milestones you really care about. Yes, being 16 is alright, but everyone wants to be 18, then 21 and then… well, just stay 21 really. But while you’re waiting for your 18th birthday to come around, or if you’ve just turned 18 and anxiously waiting for things to begin, here are a few things you can look forward to.

You’re finally a legal eagle

You don’t have to like this phrase, but turning 18 guarantees a parent, friend and distant relative asking you “so, how does it feel to be a legal eagle?” And it’s not only because you’re now allowed to enjoy a cold beer at family braais (even if that’s likely the first thing you think about). There are other aspects that warrant “legal eagle” status.

  • Car: You can now officially start dragging your parents around car dealerships, talk to car dealers and find your dream first-car and everything that goes with it. Obviously, you’re going to need to pass your driver’s test first and receive a legitimate driver’s licence, but the point is, you’re finally the right age to do so! And wouldn’t a car be the best 18th birthday gift ever?
  • Going out: You no longer have to worry about going out to a bar, lounge or pub for dinner with your family, only to be kicked out by eight o’clock because that’s when the party starts. You have the opportunity to responsibly meet new people, dance all night and get to know what it’s like to be the designated driver (you’re going to want every opportunity to drive your new car, that’s something you can bet on).
  • Vote: A rather important freedom you now have is the ability to vote. Your opinion and political preferences can now be heard and recorded in official municipal and presidential elections. And you can finally post your cliché marked-thumb photo on Instagram.

Think about the year after

Another thing you have to look forward to is planning what happens the year after matric ends. You may not necessarily still be 18 for the majority of next year, but you generally start planning what you want to do now already.

You have the option of taking a gap year where you can do some travelling, short courses or find a part-time job to save for something. Or you can start looking at and applying to colleges and universities. You get to go to all the open days, figure out what you want to study and, essentially, take the first step towards your future career.

Start a business

Yes, working isn’t a new concept for most teenagers who start some sort of part-time gig around sixteen, but you never really needed that much money at that age. Now you have the responsibility of covering your going out and driving around fees. And, while we just mentioned that you may decide to work in your gap year next year, you may also want to start this year already. Why, if you really wanted to, you could even start your own business on the side – from 18-years-old you are eligible, after all.  

The reality is that you’re going to need money for petrol, snacks and the activities you end up doing. And as much as your parents may love you, they’re already paying for your school fees, extra-curricular activities and tutoring. They won’t be too happy to pay for you everytime you want to go out and enjoy yourself on the weekend.

And that’s where a part-time business comes in. Not only will you have extra cash, but you’ll be learning about the value of money and start to appreciate everything your parents do pay for. Also, the skills you’ll learn from starting your business will help you decide what you want to end up doing someday and it will be great experience.

“Ain’t nobody got time for that”

By this time in your life, you’ve had a variety of people come and go in your life. You’re at the point where you know which kind of people you want to be associated with and which kinds of people you don’t need in your life.

It’s a “ain’t nobody got time for that” period where you decide who’s real and who is going to, honestly, make the effort and remain friends with you after school. When you’re in the adult world, there’s no space for drama or clinginess in any friendship or relationship, and anyone your age should be mature enough to understand that.

Figuring yourself out

18 is also an age where, because you’re thinking of your future with the year ahead, you’re discovering new things about yourself and really figuring yourself out. You know what you like, you know what interests you, you know what you want to learn more about and you start to get an idea of who you are. Well, you think you do until you move out or start studying next year, that’s where self-discovery really begins.

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