Adolescence is one hell of a phase. Incorporating the years from the age of ten to 19, it’s a journey that is unlike any other human experience in their lifetime. Adolescence spans the beginning of secondary school, all of those awkward and painful mid-teenage years, right until the end of one’s school days and the beginning of their life as an independent, functioning human.

To be at the end of this stage of life is admittedly terrifying. Having turned 19 just the other day, I am in my final year of ‘teenagehood’. No more will I be a teenager, which is pretty scary giving that being a teenager makes up most of what I can remember of life thus far.

Although my teenage years haven’t exactly been the easiest and there’s been a lot of hard growing up (oftentimes too soon) to do, it’s weird to think that I’m almost out of them. At this pivotal point in life, I’m looking ahead at my future and thinking: what the hell am I going to do with my life?

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Now, don’t get me wrong. Being at the end of my teenage years isn’t depressing – it’s quite the opposite. Leaving some of the most painful and tricky years of my life behind in a chapter of this book I call life is going to be a great feeling. Making it through these years hasn’t been easy, and it is something I’m proud of. However, it is still a tad scary because, this time, I really am on my own.

Once you enter your twenties, things change. Everyone starts to grow up a bit more, and everyone starts to make their own adult life. In your twenties (generally speaking, of course), you graduate, move out (hopefully) for good and get a career, a long-term partner and simply ‘adult’. Some of your friends will get married in this next phase, and some of them will have babies. Some will do neither and will travel the world. And suddenly, the bubble you’ve been in your whole life will burst.

As terrifying as all that sounds, though, adolescence wasn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The so-called ‘best days of your life’? I don’t think so. Of course, there have been some unbelievable memories and moments, but, overall, I know adolescence isn’t the best part of my life. No way. The best days are coming soon, for sure. And that’s why it’s exciting.

So, here’s to 19 and the final year of adolescence.