www.whyville.net Jul 25, 2010 Weekly Issue

Senior Times Writer

Growing Up

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When I was little, I always dreamt of being a grown up. I thought that all adults led glamorous and privileged lives. I mean, adults get to drive cars, have lunch at cafes with old friends, and wear what they please and do what they choose! I use to imagine myself wearing the best clothes and driving through the city in an expensive car, with my hair blowing in the wind. In my imagination, I dreamt that I would be driving to catch up with old friends in a fancy bistro that served only salad and ice tea. Ah, this was the adult life I envisioned.

Well, you know what? Last week, I turned eighteen years old. Let me tell you, growing up is not all it is cracked up to be.

First of all, I am in so much debt. I am starting university in the fall so all of my money is going towards paying for my hefty but worthwhile education. Secondly, not only am I now able to drive a car, I also own my own car. I also have to pay a hefty but worthwhile amount of insurance on said car. Thirdly, with all of the money I have leftover; it is difficult for me to decide what to spend it on: buying fancy clothes or buying useful things such as a laptop for school. To ensure that I have sufficient funds on hand, I have a full-time job. So I do not have much time to eat lunch with old friends at cafes.

In a way, adults do live glamorous and privileged lives. Do not let my whining tell you otherwise. When I think about all of the things I have as an adult, I realize that I do not have to live at home anymore since I am going off to university. This means I do not have to rely on my parents to put food on the table or make sure I have a roof over my head. In addition, I am now able to go wherever I want, whenever I want. I do not have to rely on my parents to take (or not take) me where I want to go. Furthermore, I can buy whatever I want. I do not have to rely on my parents to buy (or not buy) me the things I want.

I have control over my life and I can now choose the way I want to life. I can be a slacker and not worry about school or debt. I can spend my money on useless things such as fancy clothes and ignore my true needs. But then where would I be? Getting kicked out of university, having my car towed, watching the bank cut up my credit cards and being arrested by the police for not paying my debts. I do not have to worry about the things that I worry about. But I choose to worry about them because I want a good life for myself. Growing up is not just about being more glamorous and more privileged. It is about realizing the vast array of choices you have and learning to make decisions wisely.

I never considered these decisions when I was little. But I guess that is because kids do not have much to worry about. Beyond rumors, silly fights with friends and whether or not they will be able to make a play date -- kids do not have much to worry about. That is the biggest privilege of all. When you think about it, the people who can live their lives being carefree are deemed 'glamorous'. As a 'grown up' I have come to important two realizations. The first is that children lead privileged and glamorous lives. The second realization is that I am not completely grown up yet. So I should spend less time worrying and daydreaming, and more time on enjoying my youthful years.

It sickens me to see children growing up too fast and emulating teenagers. I know that I am a hypocrite because I was once like these children. However, I was never this dedicated to being something I was not -- something that I was eventually going to be. Now that I am one of those grown ups that children are trying so desperately to emulate, I see that I did not realize how good it was to be a child until my childhood years were over.

I can wear a lot more now than I could when I was younger because what I wear now is deemed "age appropriate." But let me tell you: I would trade in my above-knee length dress with spaghetti straps anyway just to be a kid again and not worry about debt, insurance and choices.



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