Sweet Independence... This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     Ever since I tasted my first bite of independence working at a fast-food joint in the eighth grade, I've craved more. My sixteenth birthday was awesome and I savored every second behind the wheel of my new-to-me Honda. That summer, I moved into an apartment with my best friend and worked full time at that same fast-food joint. I climbed the ladder of management faster than anyone had before and in less than a year I had my own set of keys to the restaurant. A year later I quit for a more attractive job in the food industry as a waiter in a "real" restaurant. Junior high was behind me; no more dumb phys ed classes or pointless assignments. High school, it seemed, was the pinnacle of adulthood!

Well, I'm 18 now, and a senior. I've gotten the selective service postcard in my mailbox, bought my first pack of cigarettes, graduated from my state's restricted driver's license program, and even cast a vote for my favorite candidate. I take four classes a day, finishing before lunch, and then drive to my internship at an electronics store. This program is designed to launch me into the business world. I often skip cafeteria food, frequenting the local Taco Bell instead. Sweet independence! These are all the things I've craved since junior high!

Except I can't stand it. I'm not crazy about filling my Honda with fuel every week and I don't really like paying a cell-phone bill. Driving has become more of a chore than the carefree ride it promised to be that first sweet day two years ago, and my first 12-hour work shift wasn't exactly as I pictured.

I am ashamed to come home tired and ready for sleep. I think I'm coming to an epiphany of some sort, but the heck if I know what it is. I just know that growing up isn't all it's cracked up to be. I wouldn't mind going back to phys ed classes in junior high or scribbling down some answers to pointless assignments. Oh, and my college search hasn't begun yet. Forget the ACTs, I want to go back to my ABCs!

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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