Photo by Brent Pennington
Photo by Brent Pennington

When you’re slipping on a pair of your mother’s shoes or playing around in your dad’s old baseball cap, you don’t think about the tough things that come with becoming a grown up. Sure, pretending to have a job, a family, and a slew of interesting experiences can be fun when you’re a kid. We all do it. I did it too. But as you reach that point in adulthood when the reality becomes even closer, it can be quite scary.

I’m 21. I have friends that are engaged. I have friends that are married. I have friends who have started taking the first steps toward the rest of their lives by taking a job in a different state where they feel totally unfamiliar. These are things you don’t think about when you’re playing house or giving a reading lesson to your Alf doll.

I can drink and drive a car.  I can feel proud of being responsible. I can lose close family members and understand what that really means. I can worry. I can vote. I can go to college and work hard and be in love and do so many other things that I didn’t think of when I sat down at my great-grandparent’s house to play cards and eat ice cream. You just don’t think about all of these things when you’re a kid. You always feel like you’re going to be ready for when it happens and when that time comes, life is going to be better and freer and a dozen other things that you’ve heard about from your parents, your teachers, and your favorite cartoon characters.

The truth is that you’re never really prepared to become an adult. It just sort of happens one day, under your nose, until you notice that your friends are getting married, you’re paying a ton of bills, and you find yourself constantly searching for the carefree nature that was your childhood. You look back sometimes and say, “What the hell happened and how did I miss it?”

It’s not depressing and it’s not a horrible loss to become an adult. It’s a new beginning that happens to be just as scary as your first day of school or that day when a kid on the playground tells you the truth about Santa Claus. Suddenly the world becomes colored differently. You appreciate different things. You dream about different things. You become aware and accepting of the fact that you cannot be a child any longer, but will never let that 8-year-old in you die. No, you’ll keep that part of you for always and find glimpses of him or her when you have a water fight on a Saturday afternoon because your boyfriend sprayed you with a water bottle that was meant for the cat. You’ll also find her when you get a chance to play with a little cousin or a sister, or when you spend some time sitting in the middle of your campus thinking about how far you’re going to go one day. You’ll think about all the things you’ll do when you grow up.

The possibilities are still endless. Only the view has changed.

One Response

  1. I was thinking of writing something like this soon, so way to steal my thunder! =) Why did Brent squirt you with the water bottle? I need to meet Miss Annie Boyle-Pennington!

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