Fall is here, which means that the weather is as inconsistent as Hollywood show-creator Ryan Murphy’s writing. (Sorry to those of you who don’t get the reference, I can never resist a Ryan Murphy dig.)
It also means that I’m in the mood to reminisce. Does fall make anyone else feel particularly nostalgic?
Like most people who live on campus I went home for the holiday weekend. It was great; I caught up on some sleep, went grocery shopping with my parents (I somehow convinced my dad to buy me ten dollars’ worth of pistachios and I have no regrets), and enjoyed a sort of pseudo-thanksgiving dinner with my family. We all brought homemade appetizers and/or desserts but the main course was Swiss Chalet. Don’t judge.
While I was at home, I felt so different than how I do here at Glendon. Between wrestling with my brother over who gets to sit in the front on family car rides, letting my grandmother ruffle my hair, and chasing my little sister around the house when she was getting on my nerves, I couldn’t help but feel like I’d gone back in time to my childhood.
It got me thinking about what it means to be 18.
Age has always felt weird to me. Being a kid never seemed to sit right. I wasn’t a particularly cheerful child, and more than anything I couldn’t wait to grow up. I wanted people to finally take me seriously, to care about what I had to say, and I wanted to be free, untethered from the whims of adults. Those feelings informed a lot of my decisions and interests back then. Ironically, that need to be seen as mature is childish by nature, but I digress.
Anyways, now I’m 18, a technical adult, and a first year university student. And of course it’s nothing like what I thought it would be when I was a scrawny pretentious preteen. These days it’s not uncommon for me to shout “I’ll never grow up!” at the skies like the Neverland wannabe that I am.
The thing is, I am still young, and I am bumbling and uncertain. I’ve been told my many a source that that never goes away; you just get better at dealing with it. “Fake it til’ you make it” seems to be the Millennial attitude towards adult-ing, and it’s one I’m quickly adopting into my own life. I’m also embracing my youth for the first time in my life, appreciating my childish tendencies -my love of cartoons for one- while simultaneously reveling in the adult tasks life is throwing at me. I’ve also learned that unless you share their opinions a lot of people are just never, ever, going to take you seriously.
Being a university student means that no one is going to force you to do things anymore. Especially if you’re not living at home. There isn’t anyone here with me making me eat, or paying attention to my attendance in my classes. It’s all me. If there’s no food in my dorm; that’s on me to fix. If I have a cold my mom isn’t going to fuss and make me wear five sweaters every time I go outside. I have fees to pay! Textbooks to buy! If I screw up, I’m not a kid who made a mistake, I’m someone who is old enough to have known better. I guess that’s the not-fun part of growing up, but it all has it’s own sort of novelty.
Eighteen is weird. Life is weird. But growing up is fascinating and complex, and different for everyone. You’re never going to be the age you are right now ever again. You’re going to continue to learn and grow in all sorts of directions (reference to my blog title, say whaat?) and sometimes it will seem too slow, and others it will seem too fast, but in the end it will have all been it’s own kind of terribly wonderful process. Embrace every aspect of yourself that you’ve gotten to know so far, and continue discovering and molding the rest. Don’t let yourself stagnate. In my experience sadness and disappointment live in those moments when you stand still for too long.