Getting older is ironic. When you’re younger, you can’t wait to grow up. You want to get your first cell phone, be able to drive, and go to parties. You crave freedom.
As you age, you slowly realize that with these things comes responsibility, consequences, and being held accountable. This is when stress begins to set in. You worry about your grades, finding a job, and sometimes deal with peer pressure and bullying. Before you know it, you’ve graduated high school, moved onto college and are now faced with the harsh reality of adult life. This is when you wish you were young again. You remember being a small child with no care in the world. Your biggest concern was whether to play on the swings or build in the sandbox. You debated about having macaroni and cheese for lunch or pizza. Your biggest stress was whether or not you were invited to Sally’s birthday party.
As adults, we crave the innocence and care-free life that childhood offers. But as youngsters, we wish our childhood away, dreaming of being older and more independent. But I think having a younger mindset as you age and a more mature personality in your youth are both important.
People have always told me that I was “wise beyond my years” and an “old soul”. As a kid, I never really knew how to take that or whether or not I was happy about being an “old soul” at 15. But I quickly learned that it was a compliment. I distinctly remember when I first met my husband. He was (and still is) an officer in the town where we live. Before we started officially dating he told me he did a little digging to find out what I was all about. So, naturally, I asked him what he found. He said that most people told him that I led a pretty boring life, which he was pleased about and which I took as a compliment. He didn’t hear that I was a party girl or slept with half my graduating class. Because I was the girl who preferred a good book and a hot cup of tea over a keg party.
As a young child, I lined up my stuffed animals and played school. I pretended to grade papers and placed stickers at the top of my “student’s” spelling tests. I dressed and organized my Barbie dolls for hours. I didn’t have a care in the world. But of course, I was impatient to grow up. I wanted to have a boyfriend and put highlights in my hair. I wanted freedom over what I wore to school and who my friends were. Once I was in the thick of high school and then college, followed by graduate school, working and paying bills, I realized that there was definitely something to be said about the innocence of youth.
As we age, our priorities and worries change. As teens, we worry about which party to go to. As adults, we worry about staying awake long enough to actually go to the party. Your biggest concern as an athlete in high school is a sprained ankle or torn muscle and remembering to take your multi-vitamin. Adulthood means dealing with male enhancement, lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol, and drop those pesky 20 pounds. Priorities change and major life decisions shift into perspective. It’s not about milk money anymore but instead about buying food to feed your family.
It’s important to treasure your youth, embrace your independence, and value each and every moment you have. You’ll experience many different journeys and ups and down as you navigate life, and that’s okay. Because, really, that’s what living is all about.