When I turned 18, the world seemed like it was suddenly full of possibilities. Getting a tattoo or buying a lottery ticket were always ideas to me, but all of a sudden I had the capability of making these ideas a reality. Of course, I couldn't wait to turn 18 to be able to do these things legally. But of course, once I turned 18, I didn't actually want to do any of them. Isn't it funny how an idea stops seeming desirable once it's achievable? Well, there is one thing that's still desirable: voting. Voting has always been something I wanted to do, but now that I'm able to do it, it's really quite scary.
Don't get me wrong, the idea of voting is also exciting. I've always wanted to be a part of the government, but now that I'm able to, it suddenly seems a lot harder. When I spoke to adults about their first voting experiences, it seemed that most people started out voting for who their parents voted for without really bothering to care. But in today's political climate, one with polarization and a constant struggle for power and compromise, there's no room for carelessness. Like the cheesy posters in most government classes say, "Every vote matters," and in this day and age, every vote really does.
When I received my first ever absentee ballot three days ago, a feeling of eagerness and dread washed over me. I want to have my voice heard in America. I want my opinions to matter. I know what I stand for and what my beliefs are on the topics that I've always paid attention to, but now I'm suddenly faced with having to think about things I've never been exposed to. How do I feel about social security, or health care, or taxes? I'll be honest, in my daily life I probably think more about the Kardashians than I do Medicare, but now I'm being asked what I think, and selecting the name of the person that best embodies my opinions.
What's really scary about voting though isn't really the voting itself. It's the fact that because I can vote, I am now officially an adult. It won't be long until I have to start thinking about taxes and insurance and whatever else adults worry about that makes them so stressed all the time. Being a kid was amazing, but for all of us who will vote for the first time in the 2018 midterm elections, the time for being a kid is over. We are a part of society now, part of a movement, and it is time for us to matter. I plan to take this responsibility seriously, to vote as an educated citizen who is both concerned and capable of making a difference. I am an adult now, and I can say, it's absolutely terrifying.