When You Realize You're Not 8 Anymore

You know when people start looking at you sideways for ordering a Happy Meal at McDonald's or skipping along the sidewalk that you've reached that part of your life when you have to become a grown-up. You've got to do your own laundry, get a job, do your own taxes, and worst of all: actually act like an adult. Responsibilities begin to pile up and perhaps things can get a little overwhelming, but the good news is that this is something everyone (yes, even our parents who act like they know everything) goes through.

Because my freshman year of college has come to a close so quickly, it has caused me to realize that life goes by fast. Soon, I'll be working in some lab (hopefully) creating vaccines for what seem to be incurable diseases. The crazy part, though, is that this part of my life that I've been dreaming of and preparing for so long isn't very far away. Honestly, it's a little scary. I will be living on my own somewhere far away from my parents, paying my own bills with my own paychecks. Soon after that, I will have my own family to take care of and then the cycle begins all over again.

What scares me the most is that the part of my life that I should have cherished most with my mom, dad, and little brother is gone and there's no going back; there's only going forward. I will never be able to yell at my brother to get out of the bathroom because he is making me late for school again, I will never get to blame my mom for misplacing my car keys on a daily basis again, and I will never get to roll my eyes at my dad for making dumb but really funny dad jokes every night. This part of my life is over and I guess I'll just have to cope with that, but it's natural. It's meant to happen.

The constant continuity of time allows for more opportunities for others to experience what you loved most. One day, my kids will be going through this same exact part of their lives and so will their kids and so will their kids. This is a time to be happy about what can happen, not to ponder upon what has happened or what we can no longer have. So get up, go out there, and make the best of these awkward early 20s years because you'll regret it if you don't. Side note: I still order Happy Meals at McDonald's regardless of how people look at me.

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