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  • I'm going to be 16 years old this December 10th, 2012. You'd assume that I'd obviously have a big bash (in US it's Sweet Sixteen, but here the driving age is 18) with loads of my friends and acquaintances, who'll wear skimpy, party clothing and dance crazily to overrated music. Well, at least that's how a lot of Hollywood movies portray it, anyway.

    No, I'm not.

    First of all, I'm not the kind to go clubbing every night (I've never been, and don't intend to until I feel like it) and instead of celebrating and screaming my new age out to the world, I'm actually starting to feel a little nostalgic.

    I love my family. Despite the numerous arguments I've had with my mum, dad and younger brother, and the attitudes I've treated them with during various mornings (I'm not a morning person, you see), they've tolerated me through my ups and downs, my reluctance to participate in breakfast & dinner conversations on some days, and my Type 1 Diabetes. They've given me far more patience than I think I deserve, even now, and as I edge closer to my 16th birthday, I've started to reflect upon the last 15 years of my life and see that my family has been there for me whenever I needed them. And the thing is that at times, I wasn't there for them when they needed me.

    You know how most teenagers are rather rebellious during these ages, myself included. But I think I'm not as rebellious as others (not sneaking out at night and disobeying my parents a lot), because my parents don't tell me what to do every single minute of the day. They mostly let me manage my own life and I can say that they don't know 85% of what's going on at school and in my life. I tell them the things that they need to know: school trips, my CCAs and the concerts I'll be performing in. So this is a huge thank-you to my family, who've invested 100% of their trust in me.

    I'm lucky I have such a family like this. I have friends who only have one parent and aren't doing so well: their finances can be tight and their life may not be as good as they'd like it to be. My mum knows how it feels: her dad died when she was 4. My parents have put in a lot of effort to give my brother and I the life that they wanted to have when they were kids, and I really really appreciate that. More than I can describe here. Some of my friends totally close themselves off to their parents and refuse to talk to them about anything, even when they ask, but my parents know that they won't need to ask me; if I want to talk to them, I'll start the conversation. I believe my family has learned (very well) to give me a lot of space, yet we're all still connected during meal times.

    I like it when we spend time together; especially when we're all in a foreign country. The times when we've played badminton together were awesome too; there was this one day when my dad, bro and I went rollerblading together...quite recently actually. I haven't seen a lot of 15 year olds rollerblading with their family quite a lot now; I just felt like such a kid, in a good way. After dinner one evening last week, we all gathered around my bro's laptop and watched (and practiced to) a Gangnam Style youtube tutorial quite enthusiastically. It's these little things that make me feel like I'm growing up too fast. To be honest, I don't really want to grow up at all.

    So in this new year, my resolution will be to treat my family better than I have been; to treat them how they've been treating me. I have been ignorant, arrogant, stubborn and rude at times, and I've been told off for that (for which I sulked and avoided my whole family for the majority of the evenings). But I will try, as they've constantly been trying to make me happy.

    That photo was taken in Moscow, this summer (if I recall correctly). I love my family.
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