Reflection: Growing Up, Growing Older
I’m going to be brutally honest here - I’ve always been that person who never feels at home with people my age. My grandmother would tell me again and again how my soul is wise, and must belong to someone much older than the body that I occupy. I’ve never felt superior nor have I declared myself as more mature, because you bet that I still laugh until I cry at Pixar movies, but I always seem to be one step ahead of everyone in my pack. Through the past few months of final goodbyes to my high school years, evaluating friendships and preparing for my next big move, I’ve come to the realization that I’ve been ready for this for years, and it’s finally time that life catches up with my pace.
“Live in the moment” has always been a mantra of mine. You can’t control what you’ve already battled, and you can’t prevent what awaits you around the corner. What you can do, however, is manipulate the right now. Even though I found myself being ahead of the boy band obsessions, I didn’t shun myself away from having fun with it. I attended a stadium show. I visited the fan landmarks. I did the whole nine yards, and had fun doing it all. I may not have dedicated as much time to finding facts about the band members as the other people my age, and I may have been using that time to read about environmental causes or looking for ways to save up to buy a car for my seventeenth birthday, but I had fun. In the end, the main goal of life is to have fun, right now.
The most crippling habit someone can adopt is to rush the moment. There are times of pain and darkness that we face, and yearn to escape them as fast as we can. These times are the lows of our path, but by pushing them behind or never fully dealing with them, we will only hurt ourselves more severely in the end. Shoving our troubles deep down under will never allow us to see the progress and strength that we have built from those moments. When children lose loved ones, the common practice is to turn them away from the reality of it. I’ve had my fair share of losses, all in different causes, and as sickening as it seems, each of them taught me something different about life. I wasn’t sheltered from what had gone on, and the truth behind it all has allowed me to later cope with other losses.
“Being a kid” was always different for me. I was offered every opportunity to run around barefoot and watch cartoons, and I took the chances graciously, but I always knew that I wanted to be doing something else: something more productive, to be exact. I love having fun, but I would give up a day of games to help someone in need any day. That’s who I’ve always been, and that’s who I’m proud to be. At this stage in life, most people are still wandering with their heads snapped on backwards, still truly troubled by whether their high school sweetheart is worth giving their career up for. (PS: they’re not.) I was encouraged to get my hands dirty and to try new things, and with those explorations, I grew up on experiences. Every lesson I have been taught has been through first hand experiences, and I undoubtedly can say that it enhanced my perspective of life.
Growing up has the stigma of intimidation strung across it. Becoming completely independent and learning the consequences of leading your own life is something that has never been presented, and now suddenly, it sits on my front porch, waiting for me to come and pick it up. I know that I am responsible, and I know that I have been lucky enough to find who I want to be early on. Taking on life knowing that all I have learned over the past eighteen years has been piling up to guide me through my future is a bit surreal. Fearful is the wrong word to describe how I’m feeling, and yet, I feel the urge to say that I’m scared. I’m filled with excitement and eagerness to explore and thrill to get moving, but I am still scared. The key is to never let that fear override the drive. With every obstacle, uplifting or degrading, comes the chance to sink or soar. My future will not be defined by fear, but by perseverance.