Growing Up: Changes that Change Us

Growing Up: Changes that Change Us

My own take on how growing up has changed me and my life slowly but also, quickly.

Lately, I have been thinking way too much (dangerous, I know) about who I was in high school, and even in my first couple years of college. Obviously, we know growing up and changing happens to all of us as we move through these different chapters in our lives. There are times where we lose a sense of time and move from day to day doing the same routine; class, work, bed, eat, and repeat. There is no stopping the fastest machine; the human body. This slew of habits becomes us, and we do not slow down and try to think of where we came from, where we are heading or what will happen if we don't appreciate life.

These thoughts have been flooding my brain, making me contemplate whether or not the decisions I have made were worth it. Maybe I could have saved those friendships that fell apart, or maybe I could have studied harder, tried to be better. Yet, the past is the past, move on, just don't forget where you came from. As thinking back to high school, I remember my best friends I was with all the time, day in and day out, and how we were inseparable and couldn't be stopped. I truly believed that these people would be at my wedding in the future, but now I don't even know if they are okay or how their family is doing. I couldn't go a week without them, and now I don't even have a passing thought about them. Growing up sucks, it's weird and disappointing to a fault. We made decisions, on both sides of the wall, to either keep our distance or try to stay in touch, but we layered the bricks one by one, day by day, to not talk or communicate. I hope you are all doing well, those reading this, and I hope your old friends are okay as well.

Another thought I had, was when did it become senior year and law school approach so quickly? There seems to be no time between starting the school year and graduating, heading to adulthood real fast. People said high school would be the fastest four years of my life. I never believed them and now I'm just one day, one week, closer to ending my undergraduate career of college. This isn't happening, there is no way I need to apply to another set of schools, that I need to take more tests and go on to more education. My life is going by insanely fast, and I know my friends are thinking the same thing, they just won't admit it. Admitting it means it is actually happening, and we don't want to face that just yet.

For me, growing up and furthering my education, becoming more of an adult, means my younger brother is also. Nothing makes you feel older than thinking about someone younger also growing up to be just as much as an adult as you are. My brother and I just had a conversation the other day, he is looking at furthering his education after culinary school and it took me a second not to cry at the thought that he is getting older too. We hope to move to the same area for school and then live together, but imagining my own apartment is horrifying, I have to pay real bills and get real insurance and all that crap. My friends here are talking about graduate school, looking at full-time jobs following graduation, becoming something better than they are. That is the ultimate goal; to become someone you would have looked up to as a child. As much as growing up sucks, and is scary and terrifying, it is also new, amazing and eye-opening. These changes that are shaping us are here to show us there is more out there than just ourselves.

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The Thank You My Dad Deserves

While our moms are always the heroes, our dads deserve some credit, too.

Dear Dad,

You’ve gone a really long time without being thanked. I'm not talking about thanks for things like opening the Gatorade bottle I couldn't or checking my tires when my car’s maintenance light is flashing, but rather the thanks I owe you for shaping me into the person I am today.

Thank you for teaching me what I deserve and for not letting me settle for anything less.

While the whole world was telling me I wasn’t good enough, you were there to tell me I was. Whether this was with boys, a friend, or anything else, you always built my confidence to a place I couldn’t build it to on my own. You showed me what my great qualities were and helped me feel unique. But most of all, you never let me settle for anything less than what I deserved, even when I wanted to. Without you, I wouldn’t be nearly as ambitious, outgoing or strong.

Thank you for giving me someone to make proud.

It’s hard to work hard when it’s just for myself, but so easy when it’s for you. All through school, nothing made me happier than getting a good grade back because I knew I got to come home and tell you. With everything I do, you give me a purpose.

SEE ALSO: 20 Things You Say When Calling Your Dad On The Phone

Thank you for showing me what selflessness looks like.

You are the prime example of what putting your family first looks like. If me wanting something means that you can’t get what you want, you’ll always sacrifice. From wearing the same t-shirts you’ve had since I was in elementary school so I could buy the new clothes I wanted, to not going out with your friends so you could come to my shows, you never made a decision without your family at the forefront of your mind. If there is one quality you have that I look up to you for the most, it’s your ability to completely put your needs aside and focus entirely on the wants of others.

Thank you for being the voice in the back of my head that shows me wrong from right.

Even though many of your dad-isms like “always wear a seatbelt” easily get old, whenever I’m in a situation and can’t decide if what I’m doing is right or wrong, I always can hear you in the back of my head pointing me in the right direction. While I may not boost your ego often enough by telling you you’re always right, you are.

Thank you for being real with me when nobody else will.

Being your child hasn’t always been full of happiness and encouragement, but that’s what makes you such an integral part of my life. Rather than sugarcoating things and always telling me I was the perfect child, you called me out when I was wrong. But what separates you from other dads is that instead of just knocking me down, you helped me improve. You helped me figure out my faults and stood by me every step of the way as I worked to fix them.

Most of all, thank you for showing me what a great man looks like.

I know that marriage may seem very far down the road, but I just want you to know that whoever the guy I marry is, I know he’ll be right because I have an amazing guy to compare him to. I know you’re not perfect (nobody is), but you’ve raised me in a such a way that I couldn’t imagine my kids being raised any differently. Finding a guy with your heart, drive, and generosity will be tough, but I know it will be worth it.

Dad, you’re more than just my parent, but my best friend. You’re there for me like nobody else is and I couldn’t imagine being where I am now without you.

Love you forever,

Your little girl

Cover Image Credit: Caity Callan

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This Is What Being Away From Home Taught Me About My Home

... It's ok to make plans with people besides your mom.


My home, for as long as I can remember, has been my safe haven. No matter how many arguments my family and I got into, I always knew my home to be a place where I could feel safe, at peace, grounded, and most importantly, comfortable.

This is why, when I decided to embark on a journey to Israel, 6,000 miles away felt like I was traveling into space. I felt as if I couldn't move forward without my mom by my side, reminding me everything is going to be okay. The relationship that my mom and I have is a special one, and knowing that I was not in close proximity to her created much-unwanted anxiety for us both. Knowing that while she may have only been a phone call away, that she wouldn't be able to come hold me if I needed her to, was something I really struggled with.

While I was away, I had hoped that my excitement for the trip and the adventures that were to come would keep me grounded and sane. Unfortunately, as the days went on, I became more and more homesick. However, I was able to learn some really important lessons in terms of the importance of my home, and sometimes the need to escape it.

The new friendships I made showed me that sometimes it's okay to make plans with people besides your mom (only partially joking).

The new foods I tried showed me that there are so many different types of foods that my chef of a mother hasn't even heard of.

The new experiences showed me just how important it is to step out of my comfort zone, even if doing so means I have to be 6,000 miles away from the comfort of my mom's arms.

There are hundreds of thousands of things that this trip has taught me, but it especially taught me that life exists away from your home as well. While it is natural to want to stay close to the things that bring you comfort, it is also essential that you allow yourself to grow.

I couldn't be luckier to have had such an incredible experience abroad, but I also couldn't be luckier to have been able to come home to a mom that was waiting with open arms and open ears.

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