Don't Wish Away Your Childhood

Don't Wish Away Your Childhood

You'll regret it, I promise.
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During my senior year of high school, I didn't really know what to expect to happen during the summer before my freshman year of college. But, I have to admit to you, I didn't think that it would teach me as much as it has; so far, this summer has been a whole new learning experience, a time of reflection of what's happened so far, and a time wondering of what's to come. So really, I am experiencing the same experiences as most of my other fellow graduates - we are all trying to figure out our lives. In whatever way we are trying to do so, we are trying to "get our lives together" and be adults, and try to live the lives we have always dreamed of.

I've noticed now, halfway through this summer, that I have always tried to grow up so fast; I have tried to remove the child within me, in order to prove to those around me that I am an adult, and I can make my own decisions and live my own life. And every day, I see people my age, or younger, talking about how they don't (necessarily) want to be children anymore; we all want to "grow up."

Here's the thing.

Don't wish your childhood away.

Seriously, because it's gone so much faster than it lasts. In a blink of an eye I was in kindergarten trying to learn my "ABC's," and the next thing you know, I am graduating high school and getting ready to "grow up," by (first) going to college. Believe me when I say, it goes by SO fast, and you're going to miss it.

I know, the whole idea of growing up sounds wonderful, but there's more to becoming an adult than turning 18 and being able to do your own thing. Sooner or later, you will have legitimate responsibilities; "adulting" is much more complicated than we think it is.

If you can take anything away from this short article, it would be to understand that its OK to be young without serious responsibilities; every day adulthood creeps up on you faster, and faster, and once it hits you, there's absolutely no turning back. Hang out with your friends, enjoy high school, go to as many events as possible, have fun being the young person that you are right now. Never take for granted those moments where you and your family take time to do activities together, or to sit down and have a meal together. Always be up for spontaneous adventures ... I'm not saying that all of this stops when you get older, because besides high school, it doesn't. But as you get older, it gets harder and harder to just go out and do things. Go out and live this life while you're young and time is on your side.

I have to admit, I regret the times where I wished it all to go faster. I know that life as a young(er) person isn't always easier, but life gets harder, more challenging. Try to take advantage of every opportunity you have right now, because you may not have it later. If a group of your closest friends asks you to go on some random adventure with you, grab your sneakers and run alongside of them. And, if your father happens to be blaring Prince in the car, while singing off tune at the top of his lungs, grab your phone, and record every moment ... And don't forget to sing along, and smile while you're doing it.

Love every moment of your young life, and take all of those experiences and life lessons with you into adulthood. Don't leave any precious memory behind; one day, you'll be starring down at your high school diploma at 1 a.m., trying to figure out how the past 17 or 18 years went by so incredibly fast - the summer before you begin college, or before you officially begin "adulting," enjoy every moment you can, and don't stress the small stuff. Don't work your life away quite yet (unless you enjoy working, then you go!) Go and visit your aunts, uncles, cousins, et cetera, that you haven't really seen in a long time. Get together with your friends, and go on crazy adventures together. Don't stress over college, and what's to come. Live in the moment you have right in front of you. If you do that, I promise you, you won't regret it.

Cover Image Credit: Amber Murphy

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To The Parent Who Chose Addiction

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

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When I was younger I resented you, I hated every ounce of you, and I used to question why God would give me a parent like you. Not now. Now I see the beauty and the blessings behind having an addict for a parent. If you're reading this, it isn't meant to hurt you, but rather to thank you.

Thank you for choosing your addiction over me.

Throughout my life, you have always chosen the addiction over my programs, my swim meets or even a simple movie night. You joke about it now or act as if I never questioned if you would wake up the next morning from your pill and alcohol-induced sleep, but I thank you for this. I thank you because I gained a relationship with God. The amount of time I spent praying for you strengthened our relationship in ways I could never explain.

SEE ALSO: They're Not Junkies, You're Just Uneducated

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

The amount of hurt and disappointment our family has gone through has brought us closer together. I have a relationship with Nanny and Pop that would never be as strong as it is today if you had been in the picture from day one. That in itself is a blessing.

Thank you for showing me how to love.

From your absence, I have learned how to love unconditionally. I want you to know that even though you weren't here, I love you most of all. No matter the amount of heartbreak, tears, and pain I've felt, you will always be my greatest love.

Thank you for making me strong.

Thank you for leaving and for showing me how to be independent. From you, I have learned that I do not need anyone else to prove to me that I am worthy of being loved. From you, I have learned that life is always hard, but you shouldn't give into the things that make you feel good for a short while, but should search for the real happiness in life.

Most of all, thank you for showing me how to turn my hurt into motivation.

I have learned that the cycle of addiction is not something that will continue into my life. You have hurt me more than anyone, but through that hurt, I have pushed myself to become the best version of myself.

Thank you for choosing the addiction over me because you've made me stronger, wiser, and loving than I ever could've been before.

Cover Image Credit: http://crashingintolove.tumblr.com/post/62246881826/pieffysessanta-tumblr-com

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When Was The Last Time You Were Alive?

If you can't post it for everyone to see, was it truly a remarkable moment?

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Being alive is an essentially effortless act.

In theory, as long as you're eating food, drinking water, and performing as a human, assuming no major health conditions, most of us are living.

The tragedy I see most often is so very few of us are alive.

Now, I'm not suggesting you drop your textbooks and sprint up a mountain, or go broke trying to find yourself in new activities and events.

That's the illusion pressed onto so many of us. Social Media, more importantly, FOMO, has taught us that in order to truly be alive we need to make sure we travel far and wide, eat gourmet and unique food, and essentially, immerse ourselves in something phenomenal. However, regardless of what you do- don't do it without an audience and the value of your experience will only be justified by the number of likes you accrue on your #bestvacation ever because you #lovenature. With your back to the camera and wispy hair flowing in the beach air, you hit all of your angles, how else will you prove that you're alive to Instagram?

I fell for this too. I spent so much of my life constantly trying to get to the next phase life had to offer. High school was fun, but I was counting the days until graduation. Growing up in a small hometown wasn't awful, but I had sticky note calendars until my next vacation. And day in and day out, events would happen all around me that were just too "normal." I wasn't alive, but I was living.

Setting your soul on fire and truly living is so much more difficult than you could ever expect, but not because you have to drain savings and take along a buddy to snap all the perfect moments.

Choosing to be alive is realizing how important it is to be in this moment or phase in life and accepting it for all its worth. Instead of racing to the finish line or trying to sprint into your next season of assumed happiness, take time to notice all the beautiful and small things that make this moment so important. There is so much life to be found in simple moments.

Semesters are ending, we are all racing to summer. Perhaps in the process, take note of the routine cafeteria worker that constantly smiles at you and says hello. Or perhaps, giggle at the fact that in just a few short weeks that bus driver you see every single morning won't be apart of your morning routine.

The farther I get from what used to be my normal, the more I miss that season of life. I haven't lived in my hometown since I was eighteen, but I miss the simplicity that came with my drives to high school listening to Kanye West and the coziness of a small town opening its doors to start a new day. I never stopped to be alive in those moments, I was just simply living.

Wherever your next phase of life might be, it will always be there. You will always have something else coming. However, once this moment is gone. It's truly gone. Don't waste beautiful views trying to capture just the right picture for Instagram, take in the moment.

Living and experiencing life can be as simple as trusting that you're exactly where you need to be in life. Cherish each moment as you're in it. The next moment is coming whether you're ready or not.

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