In a Flash: Cruising into Adulthood

Cara Tran, Staff Writer

Kevin Liou (12) is 18 years old. He can legally vote. He can enlist in the military. He can buy a lottery ticket. For all intents and purposes, he is an adult. 

But, he doesn’t really feel like one. 

You must be excited— you’re almost 18.

He’s mostly just nervous. 

It must feel nice finally being 18.

He’s not quite sure if nice is the way to describe it. 

Wait until you’re 18, you’ll understand then.  

He’s waited but still doesn’t really understand. 

He can’t drive. He’s never been to any school dance or event. He’s only really been in high school for two years thanks to COVID-19. 

But still, he’s 18 years old. He’s a senior. He’s an adult, or at least, is supposed to be one. 

Although he doesn’t really feel like one, as he stands in front of his bathroom mirror preparing for the harbor cruise,  he can start to see it.

He’s wearing a suit. A nice one. His shirt is freshly ironed and completely buttoned up. His typical sweatpants are switched out for a nice pair of slacks. His usual old and worn sneakers have been traded for shiny dress shoes. 

He looks good. He looks mature. He looks at himself in the mirror and the only thing he can think is “I look different.”

To him, it starts to feel like everything is changing. 

Panic starts to set in. 

His friends all have their drivers’ licenses. College applications are right around the corner. The boy in the mirror just minutes ago now looks like a man. 

He is 18 years old and everything is changing. 

The panic begins to intensify. 

But then, he puts on the last part of his outfit—a clip-on bow tie— and is reminded of the truth. 

He walks out of his house saying goodbye to his parents, and he knows. He waits for his ride because he still doesn’t have his license, and he knows. He fiddles with the clip-on bowtie that was purchased just an hour earlier, and he knows. 

He knows, even as he stands on the edge between childhood and adulthood, that some things will never change. Although he is technically a legal adult, he’s also still growing up. 

He knows, no matter what happens or changes, he will still be himself. The panic subsides.