The irony is not lost on me. When I was little, I wanted to grow up. Now that I am older, I want to be a kid again. It's a vicious cycle of never being truly happy with my age. I guess that's how most things are; they contain both pros and cons. I hate being stuck in a constant state of wishing to be a different age. The hardest part is knowing that I have no control over my age. Each second I am getting older; each second I am getting farther and farther away from the time of innocence and ignorance. At the same time, I feel as though I am not growing up fast enough. The need to get my own place, make my own rules, and just have some time where I am whole-heartedly in charge of my own life is just as equally weighing on my mind. There is still a part of me that wants to remain this age forever; the in-between stage where I can be both an adult and a child. How can one wish so much to be a child, an adult, and remain a teenager, all at the same time?
I remember in vivid detail when I would go over my grandma's house. My cousins and I, who were between the ages of about five and thirteen, would all play in her backyard when our parents were at work. We would make mud pies, climb trees, and make juice with our bare feet from the wild berries that grew on the bushes. When we had worn ourselves out, our grandparents would call us in for lunch and we would sit around the kitchen table and chatter away. I didn't realize at the time that those would be some of the greatest memories of my life; I didn't know that I would lose my grandma to cancer in the summer of 2009; I didn't how badly I would yearn to be that age again, to be young and careless and free and completely lacking responsibility.
When I think about the age I am now, caught between being a child and being an adult, I can't decide if this is a place in which I want to be. It is nice to have a taste of adulthood, yet at the same time, I know that this is the last chance I'll ever have to be a kid again. I am scared of what the future holds. I am scared of what will happen when I am fully an adult and playing on swings and climbing trees will be distant memories. At this stage in my life, I am expected to act like an adult and take on more responsibility, but my parents can still use the excuse "You're not old enough". It is quite frustrating being stuck in between. I understand why teenagers have struggles with their identities. We can either be tried as adults or children, depending on what will help make an adult's case against us. When will teenagers ever be defined as teenagers? When will others understand that we are transitioning from childhood to adult and we should not be yelled at for not being as responsible as an adult, or not being as ignorant as a child?
Adulthood is a mystery to me. It is tempting to yearn for the time where I will be on my own. I do dream of the day when I can make my own rules, however I have realized that about seventy percent of my life, I will be on my own; very few years will be spent under my parent's roof. Why should I waste this time wishing to grow up? It will come and I will be ready. There will be a time when I will look back at these years spent with my parents and I will miss them, just as I now miss being a child. The idea of making my own rules and not having to ask permission before doing anything is enticing, but there is also the fact that I will be paying my own bills and making major life decisions without my parents there for me in case I mess up. With the social independence of adulthood, also comes financial independence. I'm not sure if I'm ready to leave my parents' safety net.
Someone once said "Youth is wasted on the young". I think about that quote a lot. Did I take for granted when life was carefree and responsibility free? I think that's what's so magical about childhood; you enjoy being a child without thinking about how you won't be that age forever. I sometimes wish that I could go back in time; to be a child again with no cares or worries. I sometimes wish that I could remain a teenager forever; to have both pros and cons of adulthood and childhood. I sometimes wish I could become an adult; to be able to have control over the life that has been controlled for me. I will no longer wish to reverse, fast-forward, or pause time. I have accepted the fact that I am getting older; that I may never be able to feel as free and as happy as I did as a child, but I can carry with me all the memories of growing up with all my siblings still at home; when college wasn't even in our thoughts. Age cannot take away the times I spent at my grandma's, when everything was simple and beautiful and life was a mystery that I was fully prepared to solve.