Slippery slopes into adulthood

Chloe Ward, Reporter

     Growing up is a funny thing. 

     I remember my mother jokingly telling me to stop growing so quickly throughout every stage of my life. I brushed it off and never really listened. Obviously I have to some day. 

    The period where you’re allowed to be a kid and told to “grow up already” is so brief it’s unfair. It’s been only recently that I’ve made myself slow down. 

     When I moved to Norrisville in fourth grade is when I started really trying to define myself. I made sure everyone in my new school thought I was so “grown up for my age”— I loved hearing that. Feeling like I was one of the grown-ups made my little brain feel like it was worth something and had potential, when other aspects of me made me feel otherwise. 

      Not to mention, I have faced quite an array of medical emergencies since I was 2, mostly to do with asthma or tragic accidents, so my awareness of my own mortality has been pretty intense since probably 5. I’m more cynical than I’d like to admit, and as a kid, it made it hard to have the innocent carefree spirit I wish I had been granted. 

      This continued in middle school. Personality wise, I think I’ve probably been the same since 7th grade, with different interests of course. Anyone that knew me in middle school knows I was very… well, unique, I suppose that’s the most polite way to put it. I wanted to be different from the majority of the people in my grade. But in turn, I stopped myself purposefully from enjoying being a kid.

      Time has passed, I’m almost a junior year at this point, third quarter of sophomore year. Universities, driver’s license, high school sweethearts, straight A’s. I was ready for it all, because that’s what I felt was expected of me. I was 15, I had to make sure I didn’t fall behind.

     And then suddenly, I wasn’t allowed to grow up. The entire world in 2020 came to a harsh pause. As briefly mentioned earlier, I’m severely asthmatic, so my family completely quarantined themselves and me away from the world. I didn’t even leave the house until late summer 2021. My family grieved the loss of my last few years of childhood, but that wasn’t really my concern. I just worried that it would leak into my college years, and I’d be behind. 

     What I didn’t expect was this two-year period actually being a blessing in disguise. 

     For the first time in years, in bored desperation, I was forced to enjoy activities I hadn’t been into since I was a kid. Most of my quarantine included playing Animal Crossing, my favorite game series from my childhood, and I actually got back into drawing. My passions flowed back into me, and I realized that the reason I never felt complete or good enough was because I never took care of myself. Because since I was in elementary school, I refused to let myself be a kid. 

     So no matter your age, if you’re a freshman, if you’re graduating with me, or if you’re a teacher– do something today that you did when you were 10. Your favorite food, game, song, do something that reminds you of that simpler time. What makes us so uniquely human is our emotion, and what’s the point in living if you don’t work towards happiness?  I can’t stop myself from getting older, mom, as much as I wish I could.  But I’ll never let myself grow up completely, because everyone deserves to feel that innocent bliss.