As children, the idea of growing up seems like the most exciting thing in the world. We were always told things like “you’ll understand when you’re older” and bombarded by images of fun activities that we were told only grown ups could do. We thought Peter Pan was out of his mind for never wanting to grow up. But as every year passes by and we get older and older, we start to understand where Peter was coming from, never wanting to grow up.
There are days where I constantly have to remind myself that I am already in my 20’s. Sometimes I can’t help but feel like I’m still a teenager in high school, despite the amount of responsibilities and commitments that I have. And then some days, it doesn’t occur to me that I am an adult (*groans*) until I find myself saying the most grown up things. Last week, I was bugging my dad, asking him when he would be able to help me file my taxes. Just the other day, I caught myself saying, “I’m going to use my tax return this year to buy furniture.” And then I had to take a step back and take in the words that had just spewed out of my mouth.
I’ve been so used to the daily routine of going to school, that it hasn’t entirely hit me yet that I have less than ten months left until I’m done. While I am overjoyed with the idea of not having to worry about exams, homework, egotistical professors, and all of the other nuances that come with being a college student, the thought of being thrust into the real world frightens me to no end. Given that I have been slowly being pushed into that realm (i.e. paying my own credit card bills, paying for school parking, driving, etc.), I feel like I am no more ready to be an adult than a child is ready to drive. Gone are the days where my biggest worry in life was how I was going to spend my biweekly $20 allowance. I’ve traded getting an allowance with monthly paychecks that I kiss goodbye after paying those never ending credit card bills (who was the dunce that thought I could be trusted with a credit card anyway?).
I may not be as carefree as I was when my was a child, but I’ve come realize that actually having things to care about is better than not caring about anything at all. Growing up doesn’t just mean leaving home, aging, and being bombarded by work stress. Growing up means learning to be responsible, and learning to care. At this point, there may be adults reading this who are rolling their eyes at me – “You’re only 21! You’re still young!” I know that I still have so much ahead of me, some good and some bad, and I’m not ready to take on those things right now. I may not even be ready for those things to happen once they do, but growing up also means learning how to deal with situations the best you can as they are handed to you.
As much as I may sympathize with Peter Pan at times, knowing I have to deal with grown up responsibilities and knowing how much I don’t want to deal with those responsibilities, I also know that exciting times lie ahead. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m not willing to pass that up for another shot at my childhood.