I sat with my back against the oven on the kitchen hardwood floor balling my eyes out. I had just turned 18 and there was nothing I wanted less than to be an adult.
I LOVED being a child. I am so blessed to say I had the gift of an amazing childhood. It is not something I take for granted. I could not be more grateful to my parents for raising me in such a loving home. But because my youth was so wonderful, the idea of being an adult seemed both exciting and terrifying, but mostly terrifying.
I was born in Hong Kong and lived there until I was 8 years old. I walked to school in the humid air under a canopy of mango trees and I was immersed in Chinese culture as a toddler. We moved to Wimbledon, a suburb southwest of London, in 2007. I developed a strong attachment to my English heritage and found a British accent I never knew I had. At 13 years old, we made the last-minute move to Dallas, Texas. I was exposed to true American southern hospitality and added “y’all” to my everyday vocabulary. While we moved frequently, I love the perspective my father’s global career gave me as a child. I am never close-minded about people and understand cultural sensitivity. I love that no two people are alike and I know how to respect those around me regardless of their background.
For some reason when I turned eighteen, it seemed like all this adventure would end. The travel would cease and I would be left to my own devices to create my own adventure. I would move away from my family and never have that support system with me again. Being thrown into new cultures was made so much easier by my parents and sister because I never felt alone.
Going to college was going to be an independent adventure I wasn’t sure I could handle. As I am currently approaching the end of my freshman year, I know I was ready to back then to be on my own in college but that doesn’t change the fact that a part of me will always miss what I used to have.
On my eighteenth birthday, I learned many things. I learned that being an adult isn’t impossible, and that time passes whether you want it to or not. My time under my parents’ roof passed in the blink of eye and there are many things I wish I had valued more at the time.
My favorite song about being young is Taylor Swift’s “Never Grow Up.” She wrote a lyric that has stuck with me ever since I first heard the song: “Take a picture in your mind of your childhood room, memorize what it sounded like when your dad gets home, remember the footsteps, remember the words said, and know your little brother’s favorite song.”
I wish I’d realized the importance of these seemingly routine sights and sounds but I never imagined a time when they wouldn’t be part of my everyday. I know now I need to live life more deliberately because every year my birthday will pass and I will get further into “adulthood.” In my heart though, I’ll always be my parents’ little girl no matter how old I get.