Growing Up Is Harder Than We Thought

Growing Up Is Tougher Than We Thought It Would Be

Remember when all we had to worry about was who we were playing with on the playground?


Isn't growing up weird?

Your priorities change. Your friendships change. Your interests change. But most importantly, who you are as a person changes.

Things happen. You make tough decisions. People come and go, sometimes for the wrong reasons. Promises are broken. People change.

People tell you they love you when they don't. People make empty promises. The people you thought would never hurt you, do. The ones who hated you always secretly wanted to be your friend or were jealous of you.

Your family grows apart. They pick sides. Some members are favored over others. Things drive them apart.

Your friendships will change, too. You're no longer chasing each other on the playground. Instead, you're working opposite schedules telling each other how much you miss the other without actually hanging out. The friendship grows weaker and you just let it crumble because that's what happens when you grow up.

You'll get into a relationship. You'll think they're perfect and that you're going to marry them until something drives you apart. You'll experience your first heartbreak and swear off dating until you fall in love again, and then the cycle repeats.

School becomes harder. College is different than high school. Your professors don't care if you show up to class. Your mom won't pack your lunch every day for you. You aren't reminded to do your homework or when to go to to bed. You have to become independent for the first time in your life and that's scary.

The things that used to interest you now bore you. The bands you used to listen to are lame now. Instead of spending your Friday nights with your parents watching movies, you're hanging out with your friends until 3 a.m, regretting it when you have to wake up at 8 for work.

Most of all, it becomes scary when you stop to think about how much you've changed as a person. As you continue to grow up and become an adult, you will experience things that you may not have experienced before.

You have two options. You can either let it make you or let it break you.

As much as I wish I could go back, we can no longer spend our days running around on the playground and taking a nap. We now have to work a job in order to be able to just barely afford the bare minimum and give up our social lives. We have to learn how to make it on our own because our parents aren't going to be around forever.

We have to learn that nobody is going to be there for us. Friends say they'll be there no matter what happens, but they have their own busy lives and often forget about everyone else.

What happened to being little with no responsibilities? When all we had to worry about was who we were playing with on the playground?

Man, I wish I could go back. Growing up is tough.

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Working With People Who Are Dying Teaches You So Much About How To Live

Spending time with hospice patients taught me about the art of dying.


Death is a difficult subject.

It is addressed differently across cultures, lifestyles, and religions, and it can be difficult to find the right words to say when in the company of someone who is dying. I have spent a lot of time working with hospice patients, and I bore witness to the varying degrees of memory loss and cognitive decline that accompany aging and disease.

The patients I worked with had diverse stories and interests, and although we might have had some trouble understanding each other, we found ways to communicate that transcended any typical conversation.

I especially learned a lot from patients severely affected by dementia.

They spoke in riddles, but their emotions were clearly communicated through their facial expressions and general demeanor, which told a story all on their own.

We would connect through smiles and short phrases, yes or no questions, but more often than not, their minds were in another place. Some patients would repeat the details of the same event, over and over, with varying levels of detail each time.

Others would revert to a child-like state, wondering about their parents, about school, and about family and friends they hadn't seen in a long time.

I often wondered why their minds chose to wander to a certain event or time period and leave them stranded there before the end of their life. Was an emotionally salient event reinforcing itself in their memories?

Was their subconscious trying to reconnect with people from their past? All I could do was agree and follow their lead because the last thing I wanted to do was break their pleasant memory.

I felt honored to be able to spend time with them, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I was intruding on their final moments, moments that might be better spent with family and loved ones. I didn't know them in their life, so I wondered how they benefited from my presence in their death.

However, after learning that several of the patients I visited didn't have anyone to come to see them, I began to cherish every moment spent, whether it was in laughter or in tears. Several of the patients never remembered me. Each week, I was a new person, and each week they had a different variation of the same story that they needed to tell me.

In a way, it might have made it easier to start fresh every week rather than to grow attached to a person they would soon leave.

Usually, the stories were light-hearted.

They were reliving a memory or experiencing life again as if it were the first time, but as the end draws nearer, a drastic shift in mood and demeanor is evident.

A patient who was once friendly and jolly can quickly become quiet, reflective, and despondent. I've seen patients break down and cry, not because of their current situation, but because they were mourning old ones. These times taught me a lot about how to be just what that person needs towards the end of their life.

I didn't need to understand why they were upset or what they wanted to say.

The somber tone and tired eyes let me know that what they had to say was important and worth hearing. What mattered most is that someone who cared was there to hear it.

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My First College Gal Pal Road Trip Was Amazing

Every girl should have one good girls trip.


In some way or another, everybody has a list of things they want to do in their lives before it's all over. After all, we're human. There's adventure to be had in every life. One thing I have always wanted to do before I grew too old and grey was go on a road trip with my gal pals to the beach. A couple weeks ago, I achieved this memorable milestone, and it allowed me to open up to new surroundings and experiences.

On this trip, I went with two of my friends from college, Kait and Lindsey, to visit my roommate Elizabeth in Virginia Beach. This was pretty big for Lindsey and I because neither of us had been to Virginia Beach before. Thankfully Elizabeth and Kait knew their way around the city, so we never got lost on our way to and fro.

Like most vacations, my favorite parts probably took place at the beach. I'm always at utter peace stomping through mushy sand or leaning down to splash the salty water that tries to knock my short self over. We took pictures and did something us college girls rarely have time to do especially in school: Relax.

The four of us did not live up to the crazed stereotype of girl trips in movies. Although I finally got a chance to sing along to Taylor Swift in a car ride with my friends, so that's always a plus. We played "Top Golf" one day, and by some miracle, I actually won the second game by a fair amount after much humiliation in the first one. We visited some of Elizabeth's family, and I finally got to meet her giant dog Apollo (I call him 'Wolf Dog'). Everyday was another chance to ask with enthusiasm: "So what are we doing today?"

Our trip wasn't like the movies where we all cried or confessed our deepest darkest secrets. Everything the four of us shared was laughter and this calm feeling of being at home, in the chaotic peace of each other's company. We understand each other a little better due to finally seeing what we're like outside of Longwood University. After this, all I can say is that we're most definitely planning the next one!

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