When we were five, we were asked what we wanted to be when we grew up. Our answers were silly and childish, like princess, cowboy, and actress. In our middle school years, we dealt with puberty, boy and girl parties, and preparing ourselves for high school. Although we were preparing to enter into another chapter of our lives, the thought of becoming an adult and moving on wasn’t something that passed through our minds. Birthdays were a celebration. We waited for our birthday to celebrate a chance to become older because, let’s be honest, it was what we waited for year after year. We waited for that year we would start driving, get a big job, and live the fun life we saw in movies. We never sat and enjoyed the moments we had in the younger years.
During our high school years, we were asked the same question of what we wanted to be when we grew up. Our answers became a little more advanced. We said things like doctor, journalist, or a teacher. We took more advanced classes, learned to drive, and looked forward to the next high school dance. When we got to junior and senior year, we were looking at colleges and looking forward to the next part of our lives. We wanted the freedom, the new friends, the classes we wanted for that job, and all the moments of feeling invincible to the world. To us, graduation day couldn’t come fast enough.
Throughout our lives, we haven’t focused on the here and now, but instead focused on the next day, the next week, and what we are doing for the next few years. College years do that to you. Your freshman year, you focus on “living the college life” and take those general education classes with the other freshmen. Your sophomore year, you start taking your major classes, you start calling your mom more often, and you start worrying about what you are going to do after graduation. Junior and senior year rolls around, and you can sit there worrying and wishing you could go back to those years of being young, and tell yourself to stay young.
Birthdays are no longer something you want to celebrate. Birthdays become something you don’t want to think about, because you just get closer to growing up, getting older, and living that life we so desperately thought that we wanted, but really don’t. We didn’t stop and enjoy all of those moments where all we needed to do was love our family and friends, do whatever whenever we wanted it, and not have a care in the world.
Growing up was something we had looked forward to, but something we fear now. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. We can’t get back those years we once had, but we can change our outlook on our future years. We can enjoy growing up, but we need to remind ourselves to stop and enjoy these moments we have now.