Sixteen Going on Seventeen

     I am sixteen. Tomorrow I'll be seventeen. Today I'm in the middle of my teen years. Tomorrow I'll be in the older teen years.

     When I turned sixteen, I wrote, "I've been ready for sixteen. I've been waiting. It doesn't sound too old. It sounds just right. It sounds very me." I was trying to capture the feeling I've had my whole life that sixteen was the most perfect, beautiful, young, and Madeline-ish age ever. If I'm honest, I still think it is.

     But now I'm on the cusp of 17, which sounds more like my mature and adult side. A few weeks ago, I started practicing being an adult because I've found from observation that it's in the little moments and split-second decisions that adulthood-ready teens set themselves apart from the childish teens.

      Yet why is it that when kids turn 18, they suddenly have expectations cast on them by adults? I don't want to be caught unprepared. It is the year of 17 that prepares you for your first year of adulthood, after all. And in most cultures throughout history, I would be considered an adult already.

     Real adults don't whine.

     Real adults work hard.

     Real adults will take time for fun and not feel guilty.

     Real adults can face their past, present, and future undaunted.

     Real adults rely on God instead of their accomplishments.

     Real adults are proactive.

     Real adults are patient.

     Real adults hold their tongues.

     Real adults spend their time wisely.

     Real adults take care of their whole beings: body, mind, and soul.

     Real adults know that they don't know everything.

     Real adults aren't worried about not having their lives together.

     While I now have adult expectations of myself, I will still hold on tightly to my childlike faith and wonder. For the last time, I can say honestly, I am sixteen going on seventeen.

You are sixteen going on seventeen
Baby, it's time to think
Better beware, be canny and careful
Baby, you're on the brink

     Thank you for journeying with me into this year: this last year of childhood, the year of preparation, and the year leading up to my golden birthday!



  1. Hi Madeline. I "met" you on a recent webinar (I think it was with Abby and Crystal), and wanted to read your blog.

    I love your points on the qualities of "real" adulthood! They are so on target! I can see that you are already a mature young woman who is willing to grow....and that's important at ALL ages!

    Do you know what is so funny? I knew you were younger, but didn't realize how young exactly from your photo. I just turned fifty and wrote about that on my blog. How interesting that we're both at a "milestone" birthday.

    And you know what? We need to continue to "practice being an adult" so we aren't caught "unprepared" for the rest of our lives on earth. You have the keys. Holding on to your "childlike faith and wonder" and "relying on God" will allow Him to continue to grow and change you to be a more mature and healthy adult. And we're never too old to keep learning and growing!

    God bless you on your seventeenth birthday! :)

    1. Hi, K Ann!

      It was so nice to "meet" you. :) Thanks for reading my blog and sharing your words of wisdom.

      Happy belated birthday!


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