“Your cousins said they couldn’t believe how much you’ve changed,” my mom told me two weeks ago as we drove to Chautauqua.

Well, yeah.

Papa died in May of 2011. That was the last time I had seen the only two cousins I have on my mom’s side.

Senior in high school. Seventeen. Tightly wound. Homebody. Impressionable. Judgmental. Narcissistic. Steady boyfriend with military ideals. Clean, if that makes sense.

Cigarette smoke floated up to my window from the front porch and I silently cursed the headache-inducing smell, along with my cousins’ useless nicotine addictions.

They saw a different Emily last month.

Junior in college. Nineteen (nearly 20!). Explorative. More –– but not completely –– open-minded. Independent. Still tightly wound, but knows now how to let go.

Short, boyish hair. Navel piercing. Tattoo (a new addition!). Bigger thighs (a big thank-you goes out to those damn squats in weight room freshman year).

And I don’t mind the cigarette smoke anymore.

I wouldn’t be who I am now if I had stayed in that militaristic relationship.

So I’m glad 17-year-old Emily is gone. This 19-year-old Emily has seen more of the world and, as a result, is closer to her older brothers and cousins than she ever thought she’d be.

2 thoughts on “Seventeen

  • I just turned seventeen today and thought that I have officially reached my “changing” stage and that I believe who I am today is who I will be forever- but this has made me realize I am still young and who I am now probably won’t actually be who I am in two years. The fact that you don’t mind cigarette smoke anymore is a sentence that has a lot of meaning behind it I think- you’re tolerant and carefree. I hope to be strong enough one day to “not mind cigarette smoke anymore either.” Everyone can learn a lesson to tolerate cigarette smoke- and by that I mean accept each other. In XC I always yell at people who smoke in the streets and cough really loud when I see teens from school doing it and someone said you used to do that so I think it’s so funny how now i’m reading this post after learning that the junior in high school really did hate cigarette smoke. Thankyou for making me realize I should be open to growth and change 🙂

  • Change is a never-ending thing. I thought I was pretty set on who I was at 17 and the different ideals I had. But everything has changed. College has changed me. It’ll change you, too. Yes, you should be open to growth and change, but be forewarned that some of the changes can be frightening. But that doesn’t mean that they’re bad. : )

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