Hold On To Your Youth While It Lasts

I am 19 years old, about to begin my sophomore year of college in the fall. The sentence itself is somewhat scary because, in a few months, I won't be a teenager anymore. Legally, I am considered an adult. However, I believe adulthood is subjective and is achieved at many different ages and stages of life. I have encountered people younger than me that are wise beyond their years and have even been told myself that I am mature for my age. Each person experiences different things and grows up at different paces.

When I was 13, my mom got her hip replaced, and I had to do a lot of growing up in a short amount of time. I had to take care of her, help around the house, keep an eye on my younger sisters, and a lot of things most young teenagers around me had never done. I am not resentful toward that time, but I was practically stuck doing housework and rarely hung out with friends that year. Things were changing fast.

As a college student, I know I have to take my academic career as well as my extracurriculars seriously in order to succeed. This doesn't mean I can't have any fun at all. I enjoy going out with my friends and doing things that make me happy. Some things may be seen as odd for someone at my age, but they make me happy, so why does it matter? For example, I love to sit on the couch with a bowl of cereal while watching cartoons on Saturday morning. My mom asks me every time she sees me doing this, "Aren't you a little too old to be watching "Spongebob?""

Maybe I am, Mom. But I grew up with "Spongebob" and many other cartoons like it. I lived for Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and Disney. I continue to watch some of the older shows and even some of the more recent ones because they're entertaining and I enjoy them. I loved "Hannah Montana" and "iCarly" and smile from ear to ear if I see reruns airing on television. Watching these shows makes me feel like a kid again.

I'll also catch myself humming tunes from "Camp Rock" and old Jonas Brothers songs— "Burnin' Up" is a classic. If you don't scream the "red dress" part, are you even a true fan? I used to fantasize about marrying Nick Jonas or Zac Efron and have nothing but fond memories from my childhood interests.

Yes, I am 19 years old. I do realize that I am still very young, some might even argue too young to be reminiscing about "when I was a kid." But truthfully, I'm not a kid anymore. I have a job, I go to school, and when I'm not in my hometown, I am responsible for myself and my actions without my family there with me. I am not sorry for enjoying cartoons and other things from my childhood that aren't typical of college students.

I'll probably love cartoons my whole life and encourage my children to watch some of the same shows that I did (they're growing up watching "The Peanuts" with Charlie Brown whether they like it or not). In his song "Jack and Diane," John Mellencamp sings, "Holdin' on to sixteen as long as you can." I'm very content with my life and I'm not ready to be an adult just yet. We all should enjoy being young and not be in such a hurry to grow up.

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