Hey Kid, Don't Grow Up Too Fast
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Student Life

Hey Kid, Don't Grow Up Too Fast, Enjoy It While You Can

Adulthood isn't all it's cracked up to be.

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Hey Kid, Don't Grow Up Too Fast, Enjoy It While You Can

Reading this, I'm sure you think I'm a 60-year old miser insisting you get off my lawn and turn down the music. I'm not, I promise. I still walk barefoot outside and play whiny music too loudly, but I think I know a thing or two about growing up too fast.

Don't misunderstand, I mean this in any sense. Whether you rushed through school (AKA your childhood) to fast-track to college, or learned how to be an adult way too soon because of living circumstances, or you just refused to let the naivety in, this one's for you.

There are countless reasons why a 13-year old might think they're ready to grow up and move on from Geometry homework and afternoon hangouts. As a 20-year old on the 9-5 grind, I think I'm in the position to say they're wrong.

I can't pretend even for a second that my upbringing was unsatisfactory, in fact, I have my parents to thank for where I am today. But that doesn't mean that I made the right choice as a 14-year old to forfeit the pleasurable parts of high school nonsense to get started with my life.

Incoming freshman year, you're often faced with so many questions. Do you want to join clubs, or do a sport, or kill yourself over academics, or none of the above? All of these questions come with answers that may or may not inspire disappointment in your parents, or even in yourself.

I won't act like I was forced into anything because the choices that I made were mine and mine alone. At the time, I thought I was doing the right thing. I joined a program that promised I would never have a social life and that I would know back-breaking academic coursework before I was old enough to drive. My parents left the decision entirely to me, and whether it was fear or anxiety or pressure, I chose it.

Don't get me wrong, the teachers and administration and other students in this program were incredible. I was constantly surrounded by intelligence and integrity, and the drowning sensation that I felt was entirely of my own making.

But as a 14-year old, who was I to know? As a 19-year old, I filed my intent to graduate for a Bachelor's degree. As a 20-year old, I'm working for a salary with benefits and an impending business trip. Sometimes it's hard to believe this is my life because while I was satisfied with my choices at the time that I made them, looking back I regret not smelling the roses a little.

If you've had the misfortune to be in a situation where you were forced to forego your childhood, I offer you my complete and utter respect. I will not sit here unaware of my privilege and pretend like every child can afford to be naive and immature.

But if I've learned anything in the past few years, it's that life can always offer more. If you cancel plans with friends every single night on the excuse of having to study, live a little. If you avoid reading that book you like for the 80th time because it feels stupid, live a little. If you miss the breeze from outside and the feel of the sun on your skin, live a little.

I spent four years of high school behind a closed door and taking up hours doing homework that I could've finished in half the time. I realize now the excuses I made to stay miserable was the fast-track to premature-growing-up. Friends my age still have that light in their eyes when it passes midnight and the easy-going laugh after calling out of work "sick." (I'm not saying be irresponsible here, just bear with me a second).

Don't get me wrong, the rewards of succeeding in achieving your goals and reaching adulthood are not to be discounted.

But keep in mind the price you pay to get there as soon as possible. I promise that your dream job, your dream college, or your dream life will still be there waiting for you in the future if you set your sights on them and work hard. Failure on the path to success is just another stair upwards.

Growing up is something you only get to do once, so have the ice cream cone, go outside and watch the sunset, or call up friends for dinner. At least then looking back won't be what could've been, but rather what was.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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