Consider me crazy, but I hate being 16. Everyone tells me that being 16 is the best age to be: fast metabolism, house paid for by your parents, opportunities... those are all great, but don't contribute to a teenager with a job. I'm constantly scrutinized for my age. I began blogging at 12 years-old. Not many 12-year-olds are taken seriously. When I began my blog, it was nothing more than a hobby to get me away from the struggles I faced in school. My life is much different than it was when I was 12. Life is all fun and games until you start making money. The minute I turned 16, I could legally work and file taxes (all the "adult stuff") so why am I still being looked at like I'm 12?
Transferring from high school to online school gave me a sense of security with my business: I could finally travel and work without being restricted to school. There have been times when I've been given opportunities to make more money than family members of mine make (these being adults 10-plus years older than me). During one of these business opportunities, my dad looked me straight in the eye and said, "What adult would hire a 16-year-old to run their business for them?" He didn't say this out of anger; he was curious. I'd be curious, too if I was the parent of a kid being asked to run a business! That really stung, and the words have stayed with me ever since.
My dad isn't the problem; the problem is that age hurts young adults in several noticeable angles. No, I'm not an "adult" with years and years of college experience, life experience and money to back me up, but that doesn't mean I'm stupid, or anything close to it. Teenagers are technical, smarter and more advanced than adults are. My mom asks me 10 times every day how to put WiFi on her phone, yet she works in a hospital where she has to know how to use a computer. Age can be an advantage in certain circumstances, but the majority of the time causes a barrier between potential employers and my work.
People constantly question me about whether I have grown up too quick. Maybe I have, who knows. The downside of growing up quickly is that I have two separate groups of friends. I have my friends from school that are my age. Even though there aren't many of them (I wasn't exactly the most popular kid) these are my friends that I've known since being in school. Then I have my friends in New York, who are at least two years older than me. Most of them party every night, get wasted on the weekends and go to work or school. Don't get me wrong, I love hanging out with them, going to parties (don't tell my parents) and wishing I were finally a legal age. What comes along with hanging out with people much older than me is forgetting what my age really is.
Unfortunately, I can't think of many times when I haven't lied about my age when with my older friends. Why be 16 when I could just as easily be 18 (ignoring the ID part). Heck with it, people in the fashion industry don't care about age as long as you're not drinking champagne and going home to cry to your mom about it. I've even been ASKED by business colleagues to lie about my age for job reasons.
Young adults have more opportunities than our parents did. We have been given the chance to travel and meet new people, follow our dreams, and allow the world to be our oyster. The fact that at 15 years-old I could have moved out of my house (technically, not legally) and gotten my own apartment, finished school and began a life without the help from my parents feels pretty damn amazing.
Did I grow up too fast? Maybe. In this generation, growing up fast is inevitable. Whether I'm with my older friends or friends my age, all of them have access to alcohol, parties, and fake IDs. Sixteen is the new 21 -- we just have faster metabolisms.